Raising Concerns and Complaints
Children's Social Care Services are responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in need and children in care.
We want you to tell us when you have any concerns and to know when the service does not meet the expected standards, to put this right for the benefit of Newham’s children and families.
The best way to fix any problem is to speak first with your allocated social worker or Personal Advisor, in case they are able to fix it quickly for you, as they are responsible for resolving any issues you may have.
Children’s Social Care Complaints Procedures
Our procedure for addressing children's social care complaints for services provided under the Children’s Act, is governed by a three stage process. Please visit the link for more information about the statutory process, response timelines and issues that can be raised.
Complaints which fall outside the Children’s Act is a two stage corporate complaints process.
Please visit the following link for more information.
Before making a complaint, please look at the issues we are unable to address
- The complaint is not about social care services
- Complaints/concerns are over 12 months’ old
- The complaint has been fully through the complaints process and no new information, evidence is presented
- Repeating or reframing the same issues already dealt with through various channels i.e. MP, Councillors, Mayor
- Issues already raised through your Councillor (an Elected Member) or a Member of Parliament
- Services provided are outside the local authority’s responsibility i.e. another local authority, GPs, NHS
- Complaint does not relate to the quality of care and support services for the child(ren) or family
- Acrimonious disagreement between parents on the upbringing of their children
- Allegations raised between parents in support of private legal proceedings for the custody of their children
- Complaints subject to separate procedures (appeals, tribunals, whistle blowing, schools/colleges, disciplinary proceedings, ongoing Police investigations, NHS services)
- Ongoing, or impending court proceeding for a judge to make a decision i.e. Child Arrangement Orders, private adoptions
- Where a declaration of legal intent has been made
- Housing Needs or allocation of Housing
All alerts about possible abuse or neglect, should be referred directly to our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). MASH will decide how to investigate and monitor the outcomes.
(Please visit the link for more information about making a referral): -
What is a complaint or enquiry?
- Query – where someone wishes to raise a minor issue which can be solved promptly by the service
- Concern – Where the issue does not need to be investigated and the service can resolve these quickly
- Complaint – where you have already contacted the service ad remain unhappy and want the issues investigated, resolved and to receive a written response
Follow our step by step guide to raising concerns and complaints with Children Social Care Service
You do not have to make a complaint alone, support in making a complaint can be provided by a friend, relative or advocate at any stage. The only thing we will ask, is for your permission to share information with them about you.
Making a complaint
If you want to make a complaint about how you are being treated, ask your Carer, social worker or our Advocate Service to help you.
Link here to form to
Make a complaint about children and young people service
If you are a looked after child, a child in need or a care leaver, you are entitled to an advocate to support you to raise concerns or complaints. The advocate will ensure your concerns, wishes, feelings and rights are considered; and for service providers to meet your needs.
If you would like to get in touch with an advocate to help you through the complaints process, just let the social worker, your Personal Advisor or Independent Reviewing Officer know. The decision to have an advocate lies solely with you.
Newham Children’s Rights Advocacy Service
Information about Newham Children’s Rights Advocacy Service for children and young people can be found here Newham Families Advice and Support | Children rights and advocacy service
Further information and guidance on raising complaints can also be obtained from:
Disability Children Service
An assessment of your child(ren’s) needs is carried out to identify the support required to meet your child(ren’s) needs.
Please visit the following link for more information about the service and how to make a referral.
Special Educational Needs (SEND)
Please seek advice and further information by calling the SEND Contact Us line 0203 373 6472 Lines open Mon to Fri 10.00am – 4.00pm excluding Bank Holidays. If you unhappy about any decision made about your child's EHC plan or assessment for a plan, please speak to the SEN team.
For complaints relating to SEND Transport – Newham Families Advice and Support | SEND Transport
For complaints relating to SEND EHCP provisions – Newham Families Advice and Support | Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
Service Provider & Commissioned Services
This should in the first instance be directed to the relevant organisation for investigation for them to provide you with a response, as commissioned services have their own complaints procedure.
Our Commissioning and Contracts service can be contacted with a copy of the complaint response, should the issues remain unresolved.
We would also like to hear from you when we have done something right and when you are happy with our service
Frequently asked questions
How do I change my social worker or Personal Advisor?
If you want to change your Worker, then please speak with their manager.
You can also speak with your Independent Review Officer if you are a child in care, and they will follow up as to what action has or will be taken.
What if my complaint is about the Social worker?
It is important that your Social worker’s manager and or Independent Reviewing Officer is notified as early as possible. They will look into this for you and discuss what can be done.
How can I get more supporting hours for my disabled child?
You will need to request a review assessment to look at the hours, to ensure they still meet your child(ren’s) needs. If your family’s situation has changed which has contributed to you feeling more hours are required, please contact your social worker to discuss carrying out a review assessment.
My care plan has not been completed. What do I do?
If your care plan has not been completed then it is important that you speak to your social worker about this, so your care plan can be completed with you, as it is important that you are part of the process. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable talking to your social worker or raising issues with them, then you can speak to their manager.
You can also raise issues with your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) if you have one. If you remain unhappy, then an advocate can help you to raise a complaint on your behalf.
My child’s needs have not been assessed. Who do I contact?
A 'child in need' assessment under section 17 of the Children’s Act is in place to identify the needs of the child to ensure the family are given the appropriate support to safeguard and promote your child(ren’s) wellbeing and welfare.
If you would like to have a conversation about a possible child in need assessment for your child, please contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0203 373 4600
The following information might also be helpful
I have not received the Child in Need minutes. Who do I contact?
In the first instance you should contact the allocated social worker or their manager. If you are unsuccessful in contacting either of them, then contact the service manager.
If I make a complaint, will services provided by Children Service cease?
No. Making a complaint does not affect the service we provide to you or which you are entitled to.
I have sent an email to the social worker but have not had a reply. How soon will Children Service get back to me?
We aim to get back to you within 5 working days.
Can Children Service take away my child(ren)?
We can only do so with a court order (an Emergency Protection Order) or the consent of the parent, when a child(ren) are at risk of significant harm, suffering harm or, neglect in their current circumstances.
A Section 47 Enquiry under the Children Act 1989 is carried out to determine whether any and what type of action is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child, who is suspected of, or likely to be, suffering significant harm.
For more information on the process and dispute resolution, please visit https://newhamchildcare.proceduresonline.com/p_sec_47_enq.html
I am unhappy about a commissioned Service. What do I do?
Commissioned service Providers have their own complaints procedures. We expect you to have contacted them first to investigate the matter and provide you with a written response outlining any actions they will take to put things right.
I want a copy of my social care files and personal information. Who should I contact?
Your social worker or Personal Advisor should be contacted.
If your case has been closed to children social services for over a year then our Information Rights service should be contacted
The council has 30 working days from receipt of your request, to provide the information to you.