Children's social care complaints

If you are unhappy with a children's social care service, or if you disagree with a decision we’ve made, it’s often quicker to sort the problem out by talking to a social worker or a manager within the service. 

If you aren’t satisfied with their response, you can contact us to make a complaint

What happens when you make a complaint 

If your complaint is about the safety of a child we’ll tell our children’s social services team about your concerns, and we’ll let you know that we’ve done this. 

If you are complaining on behalf of a child or another person, we may not be able to provide you with any details about how we’re looking into the matter.  

The children’s social care procedure has three stages: 

Stage One (investigation and resolution) 

When we receive your complaint, we’ll contact you to acknowledge it within three working days, either by telephone, email or in writing.   

We will then: 

  • talk to you about your complaint and find out what you want us to do about the problem
  • agree with you the timescale for dealing with it
  • allocate a person who is going to look into your complaint
  • write all of this down in a complaints resolution plan, for you to sign and keep a copy of
  • keep you updated on progress throughout your complaint
  • make sure that you get a full written response from the person who’s dealing with your complaint

Stage Two (formal investigation) 

If you’re not happy with the outcome of the Stage One investigation, you can ask the Customer Feedback and Improvement team for a formal investigation into the matter. 

As part of this stage of your complaint we will: 

  • ask you why you weren’t satisfied with how your complaint has been dealt with and about any issues that you think still haven’t been addressed
  • appoint a complaints investigating officer from the council to look into your complaint
  • bring in an independent person, who is a complaints investigator that isn’t employed by the council, to work alongside our officer
  • agree a timeline for looking into the matter
  • write all of this down in a complaint resolution plan for you to sign and keep a copy of
  • share the report of the investigating officer and independent person with the Service Director of Children’s Social Services for them to decide if we can do anything further to resolve your complaint 

Stage Three (review panel hearing) 

You can ask for your complaint to be heard at a review panel, if you are not happy with the way it’s been investigated, or you don’t agree with our response. 

A review panel is not a tribunal and it doesn’t take place in a court.  It is a meeting for yourself and the people who have been involved in dealing with your complaint.  The purpose of the review panel is to see if it’s possible to come up with a solution to your complaint. 

The panel will make some recommendations, these aren’t legal judgements and are not binding upon the council. 

The Customer Feedback and Improvement team will provide you with more information about how the panel meeting works when it has been arranged.

What happens if I'm not happy with the council's response to me?

If you aren’t happy with how we’ve dealt with your complaint, you have the right to ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to look into the matter for you. 

Read more about what the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman will do and how to get in touch with them.

Help to make a complaint 

You can ask a family member or a friend to make a complaint on your behalf. We’ll need your permission for us to deal with another person before we accept your complaint.  

Please tell us if you need any other support to make a complaint. We can tell you about the advocacy services provided by local organisations to help you to have your say.

Dial Barnsley provide support to customers who wish to make a complaint about adult and children social care services.  

If you prefer, you can contact another organisation that offers advocacy support. Please ask us for details.