Skip to main content

Children’s social care complaints


Every social services department must have a complaints procedure in place. Complaints regarding Children’s Social Care are dealt with by the Information, Governance and Complaints team. We offer support, advice and guidance to service users who wish to raise a formal complaint.

Any service user or somebody who is accepted as acting on behalf of a service user has the right to make a complaint and have their concerns investigated in accordance with the statutory complaints procedure.

You can submit your complaint using our complaints form .

Some young people need help to speak for themselves and to get other people to listen to what they say. If you are a child or young person that is looked after by our Local Authority, or in receipt of services and you wish to make a formal complaint, the complaints team can arrange for you to have an advocate to support you through the complaints process.

Contacting your MP about an issue – you have the right to contact your MP about matters relating to Council services. In the first instance it is recommended that you contact the Council to try and resolve any issues. If you do contact your MP they will pass your enquiry to the Council and it will be addressed through the appropriate process. This could be as a service request or a complaint.

Please note any matters that have been previously addressed directly with the Council will not be re-investigated if you contact your MP. When you write to your MP you should confirm whether you wish any response to be sent to them or to yourself.

Making a complaint

There are three separate stages to the complaints procedure. It is our aim to resolve all concerns at stage one, this involves the service area of which you are complaining about having the opportunity to investigate your complaint and to make every effort to resolve your concerns at this informal stage. If you remain unhappy with our initial response you can contact the complaints team and request to pursue your complaint to the next stage.

Your complaint will be treated in strict confidence, with all personal information provided processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act. As part of any investigation we will review the records and information held relevant to your complaint.

Stage One – Local Resolution

We will acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days of receipt, you will also be informed of the officer dealing with your complaint and the response date for this. The timescale for responding to stage one complaints is 10 working days after the receipt of your complaint, however if required the timescale can be extended to a maximum of 20 working days.  If you remain unhappy with the response you have received a resolution meeting or a further investigation may be offered in an attempt to reach a satisfactory outcome.

Stage Two – Independent Investigation

An independent investigation will be conducted by an investigating officer and an independent person who has had no previous involvement in your case.  The officers will conduct a thorough investigation into your complaint and will submit a formal report detailing their findings and any recommendations.  This process normally takes 25 working days, however this can be extended to a maximum of 65 working days.

Stage Three – Review Panel

The Panel is made up of three independent people who will consider the adequacy of the stage two investigation and focus on achieving a resolution by making recommendations that provide practical remedies and service improvements.  Any requests for a review panel will be considered by the statutory complaints manager.

The Local Government Ombudsman

If you have exhausted all stages of the Statutory Complaints process you can take your issues to the Local Government Ombudsman.

All children and young people who receive a service from children’s social care services are able to make a comment, compliment, suggestion or complaint about the service that they receive.

Some young people need help to speak for themselves and to get other people to listen to what they say. This is particularly true when young people are defined as “service users” and are cared for by other people who are in a position of power over them. Helping young people to speak for themselves and ensuring that they are heard is known as advocacy. The person providing advocacy is called an advocate.

An advocate can be a friend, family member, school teacher etc. If you do not want any of these to be an advocate for you then you can approach the Information Governance and Complaints Team  who will contact an advocate on your behalf.

Your advocate will be available to support you throughout the whole complaints process. The advocate will ensure that your views are discussed and will support you at all times.

If you require any further information please contact the Information Governance and Complaints Team or read our advocacy documents:

How do I get an advocate?

You will be asked by the Complaint’s Officer if you would like the help of an advocate if you want to make a complaint about the service or care you have/have not received.

The officer will make arrangements for you to meet with the advocate and you will have the opportunity to chat with them. If you are not happy with the person chosen then you can ask for someone else to be appointed. Once appointed the advocate will support you until the complaint is resolved.

The Children’s Social Care statutory complaints Annual Report provides an overview of the activity and analysis of complaints and representations.

2019-20 Statutory complaints annual report (PDF, 403KB) – Presented to Cabinet 5 August 2020

2018-19 Statutory complaints annual report (PDF, 426KB) – Presented to Cabinet 5 June 2019

2017-18 Statutory complaints annual report (PDF, 435KB) – Presented to Cabinet 2 July 2018

2016-17 Statutory complaints annual report (PDF, 95KB) – Presented to Cabinet 28 June 2017

2015-16 Statutory complaints annual report (PDF, 4MB) – Presented to Cabinet 8 June 2016

2014-15 Statutory complaints annual report (PDF, 88KB) – Presented to Cabinet 10 June 2015

2013-14 Statutory complaints annual report (PDF, 591KB) – Presented to Cabinet 29 October 2014

Council complaints

For general feedback information go to our Complaints, compliments and suggestions page.

Related content

Complaints, compliments and suggestions

Related documents

Online complaints form

Compliments, Complaints and Suggestions Form (PDF, 137KB)

Children’s complaint leaflet (PDF, 876K)

Makaton Complaints Leaflet (PDF, 243KB)

Related websites

National Archives – Statutory Complaints Guidance

Local Government Ombudsman

Contact details

Complaints, Municipal Offices, Town Hall Square, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HU


Telephone: 01472 326298 option 2 then option 1

Telephone opening times: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, except bank holidays