Last updated:

19th March 2024

Feedback and complaints

Children and families complaints

We welcome your feedback, both good and more critical. If we're doing something well let us know as it helps us to do more of the things that are working well. 

However, if something hasn’t gone so well, we need to know so that we can put it right and learn from our mistakes. 

A complaint is a verbal or written expression of dissatisfaction or concern about the actions, decisions or apparent failings for which you want a response.

Making a complaint

To make a complaint about a service you're receiving you can: 

  • Visit our complaints page 
  • Write to Children  Services Complaints, Wokingham Borough Council, Shute End,  Wokingham, RG40 1EH
  • Hand your letter of complaint to a member of staff at Wokingham Borough Council, clearly addressed to Children Services Complaints, Wokingham Borough Council

What happens when you complain

The statutory complaints procedure consists of three stages. 

When we receive your complaint, we will contact you within three working days to confirm receipt of your complaint and let you know if we can look into it further. 

Your complaint will initially be dealt with under Stage 1 of the complaints procedure.

Stage 1:

  • This stage is called “early resolution” 
  • The manager of the service you are complaining about will investigate your complaint and will write to you with their findings
  • To help them do this they may contact you to discuss your concerns
  • They'll usually write to you within 10 working days of receiving your complaint, however, it may take up to 20 working days if your complaint is very complex.
  • If there is a disagreement, a resolutions meeting will be offered in an attempt to resolve the outstanding concerns.  

Stage 2:

  • If you're unhappy with the Stage one response, you should contact explaining  why the Stage 1 response did not answer your complaint and what you would like to happen to put things right
  • You should do this within 20 working days from the date you received your Stage 1 response. 
  • If there is agreement, the Children’s Complaints Officer and Customer Services Officer will arrange for the complaint to be independently investigated  
  • An independent investigating officer will be appointed to investigate your complaint, and an independent person will be appointed to ensure that the investigation process is open, transparent and fair
  • The investigating officer will write a report with their findings and recommendations
  • A social care senior manager will consider the report and then write to you with their decision
  • We aim to respond to you within 25 working days
  • This can be extended to 65 working days for complex complaints which need a longer investigation

Stage 3 - Review Panel Hearing:

  • If you're still unhappy when you have received the response, you can request to go to Stage 3 of the process – a Review Panel Hearing 
  • If you want to go to a Review Panel Hearing you will need to contact the Customer Relations Manager, explaining what you are unhappy about and what you expect from the Review
  • You must make your request within 20 working days of receiving the response letter from Stage 2
  • In Stage 3 a panel of three independent people look at whether your complaint was dealt with adequately at Stage 2 
  • None of the people will have been connected with your complaint or know anything about the investigation so far
  • The Review Panel Hearing will be arranged and held within 30 working days of the date when your request was received by the Social Care Customer Relations Manager
  • You may attend the hearing to present your case, but you don’t have to
  • If you decide to attend, you can be accompanied by another person who can speak for you
  • The recommendations and notes of the Review Panel will be sent to the Director of Children’s Services within five working days of the end of the hearing, and you will be sent a copy at the same time
  • The Director will consider their decision and will write to you within 15 working days of receiving the Review Panels recommendations
  • This is the end of the council’s internal statutory children’s social care complaints procedure 

Our complaints process is governed by The Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006

If you're still not happy

If you're still unhappy or feel your complaint has not been properly dealt with through our statutory complaints procedure, you can take your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).

For children and young people in care or in receipt of other children’s services, who are unhappy with the service they have received the Children’s Advocate will provide you with advice and support to make your complaint. 

Contact the Children's Advocate by emailing

School complaints

Complaints regarding a school or a member of teaching staff must be referred to the Head Teacher or Chair of Governors of the particular school. 

You can find out how to appeal against the school place you've been offered or a permanent exclusion from school on our school appeals web page

To appeal a decision about a school application, visit the school transport web page.

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