Last updated:
21 March 2017

Comment or complain about children's social care

Let us know what you think of the children's social care service you've received.

1 Overview

By law the County Council must have special procedures for handling complaints that relate to the social care services they provide. These procedures are different from the County Council’s corporate complaints procedure.

If you require an interpreter to help you make a complaint, please call 01243 777100 and ask to use the Telephone Interpreting Service.

Further help and advice can be found on the Citizens Advice Adviceguide, and the West Sussex Mediation Service is free to all West Sussex residents (except Chichester district).

2 When to make a complaint

Whenever you have a problem with our children's social care services we want to hear about it.

Sometimes we will treat that problem as a complaint and use this procedure; sometimes we will have to use a different way to resolve things. For instance, we might have to use our children's safeguarding procedures, which look into problems when children are at risk of harm.

Whichever way we are going to deal with the problem, we will give you a full explanation of what we are doing and why.

3 How to make a complaint

The best way to get something sorted out is to talk or write to the person you dealt with, or their line manager.

If you don't know how to contact them, or you don't need to speak to anybody, you can register your comment, compliment or complaint via the online form:

Comment, compliment or complain online

Our complaints leaflet below provides details of how to make a complaint, and a brief summary of our complaints procedure.

If you need help making your complaint

If you would like someone else to deal with the complaint on your behalf, or support when you make your complaint, this is fine. We will check with you that you are aware of the complaint and that you agree with it before proceeding.

Children and young people who want to make a complaint can ask for support from the West Sussex Advocacy Service.

Supporting documents

4 Our response

Your submission will usually be dealt with, at the first stage of the procedure, by the manager responsible for the service.

At each stage, unless we have acknowledged receipt with a phone call, we will acknowledge complaints in writing within 3 working days of receiving them. This will usually include a summary of your complaint, contact details of the person who will investigate and when this will be done.

We aim to reply fully, in writing, within 10 working days of receiving complaints, although this may extend to 20 working days for more complex complaints. 

If exceptional circumstances mean we cannot do this we will contact you to explain why there is a delay, and let you know the date by which we will aim to deal with your complaint.

5 Resolving your complaint

If you are not satisfied with the response you get, contact the Customer Relations team and ask to have the complaint investigated by an independent person.

The person who investigates your complaint will send us a written report of what they find. You will receive a copy of this report and a written response from the Head of Service.

6 If you are still unhappy

You can ask for your complaint to be considered by a review panel. Review panels are made up of people who do not work for us.

The panel considers the reasons why you are not satisfied; it does not investigate your complaint again. The chairperson of the panel will then write to our Director with their recommendations.

If we are still not able to settle things to your satisfaction, you can request that the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) reviews the way we have dealt with your complaint.

The LGO is responsible for making sure that councils deliver their services properly, fairly and within the law.

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