Children and families services

Compliments, comments and complaints

We are committed to providing good quality services that meet the needs of all the people who use them. If you have any compliments, comments or complaints, we want to hear them. We are always looking at ways of improving our services and your views give us valuable information to help us do that.

You have the right to complain about any of our services that you are unhappy with. We aim to resolve any problems as quickly as possible and learn from them. We will treat all your communications with us in confidence.

How can I make a compliment, comment or complaint?

If possible talk to a member of staff you already have as a point of contact and tell them clearly if you have a compliment, comment or complaint. If you are unable to do this you can speak to any other member of staff.

You can also telephone or write to the assistant director of children and families services at the address below. You don’t have to put anything in writing if you don’t want to but any compliments, comments or complaints will be recorded. This helps us to understand where there are difficulties with our service or tells us where we are doing things well.

Social Services Complaints Team
Children and Families Service
St Martin Place, 51 Bath Road
Slough, Berkshire, SL1 3UF

To contact the Slough Children's Services Trust go to their website.

The Trust's complaints procedure can be found on their publications and reports page.

Compliments

We welcome compliments about our services. If you are pleased with any of the service you have received and that these have made a real difference please let us know. We publish details on our compliments as well as complaints and can only present a balanced picture of you tell us.

Who can make comments or complaints?

A comment or complaint can be made by:

  • a parent or person with parental responsibility 
  • a local authority foster carer
  • such other person as the authority consider has sufficient interest in a child’s welfare to warrant a complaint or representation being considered by them
  • special guardians
  • any person who has applied for an assessment for special guardianship support
  • any person wishing to adopt a child
  • any person to whom arrangements for the provision of adoption support services extend
  • adopted persons, their adoptive parents, birth parents and former guardians.

What can you complain about?

You can make a complaint about any of the services provided by children and families services. These may be: 

  • an unwelcome or disputed decision
  • concern about the quality or appropriateness of the service
  • delay in decision making or provision of services
  • delay or non delivery of a service
  • quantity, frequency, change or cost of service
  • attitude or behaviour of staff
  • application of eligibility and assessment criteria.

Your rights

Anyone making a complaint can have someone with them (an advocate) to help them during the complaint process, but this cannot be a Slough Borough Council employee. We can arrange for an interpreter if English is not your first language or if you use British Sign Language.

The Data Protection Act gives you the right to see personal information about you wherever and however it is stored.

If you are contacting us about a complaint, we will try to deal with it fairly and without delay.

Complaints procedure

Children and families services has a three stage complaints process

Stage one: local resolution On receipt of your complaint the complaints co-ordinator will acknowledge your complaint within two days. You will also be advised on where your complaint has been forwarded to for investigation and the timescales. Whenever possible we aim to resolve your complaint quickly and fairly and will always aim to provide a full response within 10 working days. In some circumstances there may be a need to extend this to a further 10 working days but this will only be done with the permission of the service manager and you will be advice of this delay.

Stage two: If you are not happy with the response you have received at stage one you can ask for your complaint to be progressed to stage two. It is recommended that this is done within 20 working days of the date of the response at stage one to ensure this progresses in a timely manner. Upon receipt of your stage two request your complaint will be passed to the assistant director. The assistant director may decide to contact you in an attempt to resolve the matter, if this does not happen the complaint will be passed to an investigating officer.

The nominated investigator will have no responsibility for the service that you are complaining about. You will receive an acknowledgement of the complaint within 7 working days and be advised of the timescales and the nominated investigator. The investigation should be completed within 25 working days, if this timescale can not be met an extension could be granted up to a maximum of 65 days but this will only be done with the agreement of the assistant director.

Stage three: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint at stage two you can apply to stage three. This must be done within 20 working days from the date of your stage two response. This request will be for your complaint to be reviewed by an independent panel. This panel will be made up of three people who will not be: 

  • employees of Slough Borough Council 
  • elected members of the authority
  • a spouse or partner of any of the above.

The date of the review meeting will be within 30 working days of receipt of your stage three request. Your can attend the review meeting, send a representative or provide a written statement if you do not wish to attend. The panel’s recommendations will be sent to the head of children services within 5 days. Upon receipt of the panel’s recommendations the head of children’s social care must respond to the complainant within 15 working days.

What if you are still not happy?

You can at any time ask the Local Government Ombudsman to help. Contact details are:

Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry CV4 0EH
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Website: www.lgo.org.uk
Email: advice@lgo.org.uk
Text ‘call back’ 0762 480 4299

Exceptions and special circumstances

There may be exceptions or special circumstances when the need to change the above procedure. This may be as a result of legal reasons where the complaint may lead to action under:

  • staff discipline 
  • a police criminal investigation
  • a child protection investigation
  • a legal process such as applying to the court for an order, or for example a legal claim for negligence against Slough Borough Council.

If this happens the complaints procedure may need to be suspended until these processes have concluded. The complaints coordinator will advise you of this and keep you informed. Complaints received more than one year after the date of the situation will not be considered except in extreme circumstances. Slough Borough Council also has the right to refuse complaints that are repetitive, anonymous, malicious or vexatious.