Complaints, comments and compliments about Bi-Borough Children’s Services

Complaints, comments and compliments about Bi-Borough Children’s Services

We always aim to get things right, but from time to time we know that things don’t happen as they should do. We want to hear from you, whether it is to give a compliment about a staff member or to let us know how we can do things better.

How to let us know if you have a compliment  
We are keen to receive feedback about the services we provide, so if you have had a good experience we really want to hear from you. This feedback is important to us so that we can continue to help you and other families by delivering the service that you have found helpful. You can tell your worker or contact our Children’s Customer Relationship Team using the details under 'How to get in touch with us.'

How to tell us about your concerns       
If you feel that our staff or the services we provide have fallen below the standard you would expect and attempts to resolve the problem with the service provider yourself have failed, you may wish to escalate your concerns by filing an official complaint. It’s important for us to hear from you if things aren’t going well. We want you to tell us why you feel that things have gone wrong and how you would like us to put things right.

If we are not able to help you the way you would like us to, we will let you know and provide you with our reasons so that you might better understand how we reached our decision. Your feedback is important to us because it tells us where we could do things differently and helps us continually improve our services and the way we work with you. You can find information about the Council’s complaints procedure on the website. 

Who can complain?

Anyone can make a complaint about our staff or the service we provide. If you would like someone to help you make your complaint, such as a relative, friend or an advocate, do let us know. We treat complaints confidentially, so we will not share sensitive information with others unless we have your consent to do so. If you are a young person or a Looked After Child, and you would like to be supported by our independent advocacy team, you can contact them by emailing kc.advocacy@rbkc.gov.uk

Are all complaints the same?

Some complaints we receive are better responded to under the Children’s Statutory complaints procedure. We will let you know if we think this might apply and you can find out more here:

More about the Children's Statutory complaints procedure.

More information on the three stages your complaint will go through and the process surrounding the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman:

Stage 1 Complaints - Local resolution

Following receipt of your complaint, we will contact you within three working days. If we feel we need to clarify your concerns, we will get in touch with you using the contact details you’ve provided. This is important as we want to make sure we understand why you are unhappy and what you think needs to happen to put things right. You should then receive a response within 10 working days. Sometimes, we will need more time to respond to you, so this might take up to 10 more working days. We will let you know if we need this extra time. If you remain unhappy, we will offer you a meeting with a Manager or Head of Service to discuss the response. This is usually a positive way to work with you to resolve any differences or disagreement. Mediation or resolution meetings will be considered at this stage and all stages of the complaints process.

Stage 2 Complaints - Formal Investigation

If you are unhappy with the Stage 1 response, you can write to the Children’s Customer Relationship Manager explaining why you feel this way and the reasons you believe the response has not answered your complaint. You should do this within 20 working days and if there is mutual agreement, the Customer Relationship Manager will accept your complaint at Stage 2. During a Statutory Stage 2 complaint, an Investigating Officer (IO) is appointed to carry out an independent investigation into your concerns and an Independent Person (IP) is appointed to oversee that this investigation is fair. During the process of accepting and investigating a Stage 2 complaint, the IO and IP will meet with you to discuss your complaint and desired outcomes. This will inform a Statement of Complaint which will be sent to you to review and confirm. Once you confirm the areas of complaint that need to be investigated, the investigation will commence. The investigation often includes the IO and IP reviewing records and meeting with staff who are relevant to their investigation. 

The aim is to investigate your complaint within 25 working days, but due to the complex nature of some Children’s Services Social Care Complaints, this time may be extended up to 65 working days. When the investigation is concluded, the IO and IP will write individual reports and send these to the Customer Relationship Manager. The Director of Family Services will then review the findings, outcomes and any recommendations and write you an adjudication letter which sets out their response to you.

Stage 3 Complaints - Review Panel and Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO)

If you are unhappy with the Stage 2 response, you can write to the Children’s Customer Relationship Manager and ask for your complaint to be considered by a Review Panel. You should do this within 20 working days of receiving the Stage 2 response and let us know why you feel there have been shortfalls in the investigation. If there is agreement, the Customer Relationship Manager will arrange for the complaint to be reviewed. The Review Panel will try to convene within 30 working days of your request and will be made up of three independent panel members, one of these members will chair the meeting. You can also ask your advocate, relative or a friend to speak on your behalf.

The Review Panel will send their recommendations to you and the Executive Director of Children’s Services within five working days of the meeting. The Executive Director should send you a letter with their final decision within 15 working days of receiving the Review Panel's recommendations. This concludes the Council’s internal statutory children’s social care complaints procedure. Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) If the complaint is still unresolved, you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. The LGSCO can investigate complaints about Local Authorities and it provides an impartial, independent, free service. Every complainant has the right to approach the LGSCO at any time, however, it is important to explain that if the Council has not completed all stages of the complaints procedure, then the LGSCO will usually refer the complainant back to the Authority.

The LGSCO can be contacted by:

Phone: 0300 061 0614
Write to: Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 0EH
Visit: https://www.lgo.org.uk/

Complaints we may not be able to consider

We will always try to help where we can, but there are some concerns we can’t consider. If we cannot help, we will try to let you know who you might be able to contact.

Some of the issues we won’t be able to investigate are:

  • Concerns that are being considered or have already been concluded in court or in Tribunal proceedings
  • Complaints about the day to day running of a school
  • Where there is an alternative appeals process, such as for school admissions
  • If the issue you wish to log a complaint about is more than 12 months old

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

If you remain unhappy after we have investigated your concerns, you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO). The LGSCO can investigate complaints about Local Authorities and it provides an impartial, independent and free service. Every complainant has the right to approach the LGSCO at any time, however, it is important to explain that if the Council has not completed all stages of the complaints procedure, then the LGSCO will usually refer the complainant back to the Authority, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The LGSCO can be contacted by:
Phone: 0300 061 0614
Write to: Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 0EH
Visit: https://www.lgo.org.uk/make-a-complaint    

How to get in touch with us 

If you would like more information or want to make a compliment, comment or complaint, you can get in touch with us by:

Web: Online form.

Phone: 020 7745 6501

Write to: Customer Relationship Team Hornton Street London W8 7NX