How to complain about social services: Advice for children and young people
On this page:
- What can you make a complaint about?
- How making a complaint can help your situation
- What to do when you have a problem
- What we will do about your complaint
- Setting up the Review Panel
- There is more than one way to complain
- Downloading a copy of our complaints leaflet for children and young people
- Contacting the Complaints Team
What can you make a complaint about?
You can make a complaint if you are unhappy about any service you receive from us, for example you are:
- Living with foster carers
- Receiving day services or 16+ services; or
- Refused a service that you feel you should have received
If you have a problem or cannot get a service you need, or have any suggestion on how we can improve our services, we want to know about it.
How making a complaint can help your situation
When you make a complaint, we will:
- Try to put things right
- Explain why we did something in a certain way, or perhaps give you an apology
- Learn from the mistake, as it will help us not to make the same mistake again
What to do when you have a problem
Talk to someone you trust
This could be your social worker, teacher, parents or foster carers. These are the people who probably know you best.
Tell us how you feel
Tell us about the situation or things that are troubling you or causing problems. You can ask the person you trust to do this if you feel unable to. If you don’t feel able to talk about it to anyone, you can write down the problem on the contact card and return it to the address below.
You can also telephone or write to the Children's Rights Officer for help, the contact details are:
Waltham Forest Children's Rights Service
12 Church Hill
Walthamstow, E17 3AG
Tel: 020 8509 3432
Fax: 020 8509 2323
What we will do about your complaint
Appointment of the Investigating Officer
We will contact the manager of the person who makes you feel unhappy to try and sort out the problem. This can take up to 10 working days. We will let you know if it will take longer.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome, we will appoint an Investigating Officer to investigate your complaint. This person works in the Complaints Team and is not connected with the service you are complaining about. This usually takes a further 25 working days.
Appointment of an Independent Person
We will also appoint an Independent Person. This person does not work for Children and Young People Services and will ensure that your complaint is looked at fairly and reasonably.
Appointment of an Advocate
If you would like someone to support you in making a complaint and help you through the different stages of the procedure, we will appoint an Advocate to ensure that your views and feelings are heard.
Call the Children's Rights Service on 020 8509 3432.
Setting up the Review Panel
If you feel that the situation has not been sorted out, or you’re unhappy with the outcome, you can ask for the case to be heard by a Review Panel. This Panel is made up of three independent people who do not work for the Council. Your complaint must be heard by them within 30 working days.
This Panel will take a ’fresh look’ at your complaint and consider what stands in the way of it being resolved. It will make recommendations to the Executive Director of Children and Young People Services who will then write to you within 20 working days of receiving the Panel's recommendations, explaining what they have decided to do.
Download a copy of the "Review Panel and You" leaflet for Children and Young People Services complainants (1.2MB PDF file).
There is more than one way to complain
- You can discuss your problem with your local Councillor or MP at any time. You can find out who your local Councillor is by asking at your local library or calling Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000.
You can also go directly to the Local Government Ombudsman if you want to complain about any council services. However the Ombudsman may ask you to go through the council's complaints procedure first. Their address is:
Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771, Coventry CV4 0EH
Tel 0300 061 0614
Fax 024 7682 0001
Adviceline 0845 602 1983
Downloading a copy of our complaints leaflet for children and young people
You can download a copy of "Get yourself heard" (1.1MB PDF file), our guide for children and young people’s on how to make a complaint. You can also download a copy of our contact card, the form to use when making a complaint, compliment or suggestion.
Some of these pages contain PDF files. Click here to download Acrobat Reader.
Contacting the Complaints Team
Children & Families Complaints Team
Children and Young People Services
Silver Birch House
Uplands Business Park
Walthamstow E17 5SD
(please note: this building is not open to visitors)
Tel 020 8496 3000 (ask for the Complaints Manager for Children’s Social Services)
Fax 020 8496 3659
Minicom 020 8496 3010 (for deaf and hard of hearing users only)