Who can make a complaint about Children’s Services?
The complaints procedure can be used by any child or young person who is using the services, a parent, carer, relative or anyone else who Children’s Services believe has a close enough interest in the child or young person’s welfare.
How to make a complaint?
• Talk to your social worker or key worker, or their manager, about the problem. Most problems can be sorted out by sitting down and talking about them.
• Phone the Council on 020 8379 1000 and ask to speak to the Customer Relations Manager for Children’s Services.
• Write to the Council at (no stamp required): Children’s Services, Enfield Council, Freepost NW5036, Enfield, EN1 3BR
• Fill in a complaint form on-line at www.enfield.gov.uk
• Fill in the complaint form and send it to the address above
If you need an interpreter, tell the Council your language and they will sort it out for you.
Is there anyone else who can help?
You can ask for a friend or relative to speak for you they can put you in touch with organisations that provide advocacy support.
There are other organisations that may provide you with advice and support, and you’ll find a list of these at the bottom of the page.
What can I complain about?
These are some of the things you might want to complain about:
• A service that is not delivered on time
• You receive a poor quality service
• The attitude or behaviour of staff
• You are unhappy with an assessment, care plan or review
• Decisions you do not agree with
If you complain about something that happened or a decision made more than a year ago Children’s Services may not accept your complaint but they will write and tell you why.
What happens when I make a complaint?
When Children’s Services deal with your complaint they promise to:
• Treat you with respect
• Treat your complaint seriously and do their utmost to put it right as quickly as possible
• Respect your confidentiality
• Keep you informed about what is going on
Most complaints can be sorted out by talking informally to the person responsible for providing you with a service but if that isn’t possible they’ll begin the complaint procedure.
Children’s Services will try to deal with your complaint in confidence; however, they will need to talk to other people so that they can investigate thoroughly.
If your complaint is about an independent provider, such as a care home, Children’s Services will usually expect them to look into your complaint about their services in the first instance.
There are three stages to the complaints procedure:
Stage 1 - Complaint Resolution
When you complain, Children’s Services will write to you within 2 working days to say which manager will deal with your complaint.
The manager will try to sort out your complaint within 10 working days. To do this, the manager will need to understand what the problem is and also how you think it can be sorted out.
If the manager is not able to resolve your complaint fully within 10 working days, they will contact you to arrange more time. You should also let us know if you want more time to meet with your advocate. The manager should take no more than 20 working days to answer your complaint.
The manager will write to you saying how they have tried to sort out your complaint. Sometimes they may not agree with all of your complaints and they will give reasons for this in their letter.
If your complaint involves other organisations such as health or education services, they will try to provide a joint response to your complaint.
What if I am not satisfied with the manager’s response to my complaint?
Children’s Services will do all they can to sort out your complaint at Stage 1, but if you are not satisfied, you can choose to progress to Stage 2. To do this you should contact the Customer Relations Manager within 20 working days of getting the letter about your stage 1 complaint. If you let them know that you want to go to stage 2 because you do not agree with what the manager has said at Stage 1, or because you have not had a response within the agreed time, they will talk to you about your complaint and what you think should be done to put it right. They may suggest ways of sorting out your complaint without having to do an investigation.
Stage 2 - Investigation
If an investigation is needed Children’s Services will appoint an Investigating Officer who will gather all the facts about your complaint. For some complaints about social care services they will also appoint an Independent Person to make sure the investigation is carried out fairly. The investigation usually involves interviewing everyone concerned as well as reading files and letters. The Investigating Officer will write a report and then a senior manager will write to you to explain what action will be taken. A copy of the report will be sent to you.
Stage 2 should be finished within 25 days but if the complaint is complicated they will talk to you about how long it will take.
Is there anything else I can do if I am still not satisfied?
If you are still not satisfied, you can ask for a review of the complaint by an Independent Review Panel.
Stage 3 Review Panel
You will need to make your request for a Review Panel within 25 days of receiving the letter with the findings of the Stage 2 investigation.
The Panel is made up of three people who are completely independent of the Council. You can attend the panel meeting and tell them why you are not satisfied with how your complaint has been dealt with so far. You can bring someone with you such as a relative, friend or advocate to support you if you want.
The members of the Review Panel will consider what has been done so far and make recommendations to senior managers in the council about what they should do to sort out your complaint.
What if I’m still not happy?
There are no further stages in the Children’s Services complaints procedure but if you are unhappy with the outcome, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. When councils can’t resolve a complaint the job of the Ombudsman is to looks at both sides of the argument and reach a fair decision.
Your Local Government Ombudsman can be contacted at:
10th Floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP
Advice Line: Lo-call 0845 602 1983
Other organisations that might be able to help or advise you
• ChildLine 0800 1111 (free 24 hour helpline) www.childline.org.uk
• NSPCC 0808 800 5000 (free 24 hour helpline) www.nspcc.org.uk, including confidential online advice for 12-16 year olds at www.There4me.com
• National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) 0800 616 101 (Mon – Fri 9am – 7pm, Sat 9am – 1pm) www.nyas.net
• Connexions Direct: www.connexions-direct.com tel: 080 800 13219 txt: 077664 13219 (8am – 2am everyday)
• Coram Voice see www.coramvoice.org.uk/young-peoples-zone
• Get Connected 0808 808 4994 (free helpline 1pm – 11pm every day) Free email advice service - see www.getconnected.org.uk