A guide to the Children's Services complaints procedure

Unfortunately, sometimes we do make mistakes. So if you’re not happy with a service we’ve provided, then we want to know. Some of your complaints or concerns can be fixed by talking to someone you trust, like your social worker or carer, but if that doesn’t work we have a complaints procedure that you can follow to make sure your complaint is heard.

You have the right to receive a good level of service and we want you to get the best possible support from us. Listening to your views helps us to put things right and improve our services for the future, so your comments, compliments, complaints and suggestions are important and always welcome. Please note we cannot investigate complaints that are 12 months or over, or complaints that have already been through the complaints process

Who can make a complaint?

  • A person who receives or had received a service provided by Children's Services
  • A person who is affected, or likely to be affected, by our actions, omissions or decisions
  • A person acting on behalf of a person described above who: is unable to make the complaint themselves because of lack of physical or mental capacity
  • Has asked that person to act on their behalf (written and signed consent is required for this)
  • You can also call Barnardo’s on 024 7637 2596 who will act as your advocate and help you to make your complaint

If you are not happy with the response received, you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is an independent person who investigates many types of complaints about local councils, The Ombudsman will usually only consider a complaint after we have considered it under our complaints procedure.

Firstly, you need to speak to the worker, team or manager responsible for the service you are unhappy with. They may be able to put things right if something has gone wrong and resolve your complaint informally. 

Secondly, if matters cannot be resolved informally, depending on your complaint, there are local or national procedures that we need to follow. When we receive your formal complaint you will be contacted within three working days to thank you for contacting us and explain how your particular complaint will be investigated

Thirdly, the complaints process and stages below are as follows : 

  • Stage 1 - This is where you tell us what’s wrong and we’ll try and fix it for you. You can write to us, ring us, email us or ask us to meet you to talk things through. We will listen. If you don’t want to complain yourself, you can ask someone you trust to complain on your behalf. We will always try to resolve your concerns. A manager will write to you to let you know you’ve been heard and what we’re doing to solve it. Most concerns can be solved this way. We try to get back to you on Stage 1 complaints within 10 working days, but sometimes, it may take a little longer and it could be 20 working days. If this happens, we’ll write to you and let you know why there’s a delay and when you’re likely to hear from us.
  • Stage 2 - If you’re not happy with the response you’ve received from us at Stage 1, feel free to contact the complaints officer for Children’s Social Care and let us know why. We’ll make sure your complaint is taken further and looked at again, which could lead to an independent investigation. An Independent Investigator and Independent Person will speak to you and anyone else they think might be able to help them look at your concerns and then they will write a report about it. If it’s a difficult concern, the investigation could take a few weeks, but we’ll keep you informed of the progress. We try to respond to Stage 2 complaints within 25 working days, but if this isn’t possible, we can take up to 65 working days. We’ll make sure we write to you, explaining the reasons for the delay and we’ll tell you when you’re likely to hear from us.
  • Stage 3 - If you’re not happy with the response you received at Stage 2, you can contact the complaints officer and ask for your complaint to be put before an Independent Review Panel. The Review Panel is made up of three people who are not connected with the Council. They will look at the way your complaint was handled and will ask you to talk to them about it. We will write to you with the outcome. If you’ve gone through all of the Council’s procedures and still aren’t happy, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. You can contact them at any stage, but they will expect you to use the Council’s complaints procedure first.


Coventry City Council
PO Box 15
Council House 
Coventry CV1 5RR

You can also contact the Coventry Voices of Care Council to discuss any concerns. They will forward this to the complaints department to review.

How to contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

  • Telephone - 030 0061 0614
  • Write to - PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 0EH
  • Website

Privacy notice

We will use the information you provide to handle your complaint in line with the Council’s complaint policy. We may share this information with other organisations which may include independent external investigators, children’s advocacy services and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. We will only share your information if this is part of solving your complaint. More information on how we handle personal information and your rights under the data protection legislation can be found in our Privacy Notice.

Children's Complaints Team

Address: Customer Service Centre
Broadgate House

Telephone: 08085 834 333