Making a complaint against the social worker

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Making a complaint against the social worker

Post by Nvff2011 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:13 pm


Since August 2015 my son returned to my care back and since then the care order has been discharged and my son is currently on a child in need level but what I need to know is I would like to make a complaint against two of the social workers that removed my son which has caused a lot of distress, to top it off when I went to court to fight for my son to return to me, the judge told the local authority that they should have given me 2 weeks notice to seek legal advice since the situation wasn't serious enough for an EPO which they didn't have that night and as my understanding that is a breach of my human rights which the judge confirmed. The local authority robbed me of those two weeks based on an allegation made by someone over the weekend, all they did was take a statement from that person and from then on they decided that my son will be removed on a Monday evening at 7.30pm, I wasn't questioned. I know I left it late since my son was removed on the June 2014 but I wasn't aware that there was a breach of my rights until court on the June 2015 and up until recently I was told that there is nothing I can do about it.
That 2 weeks notice that I was robbed of would have made a lot of difference, leading up to the hearing the main social worker lead me to believe that I will never get my son back when I asked if I could work towards it but as soon as I got my son back apparently, according to her she always encourages parents to fight for their kids. Not what I got from her!
I can never get that year back with my son knowing that something could have been done to prevent him going into care, all I can do now is hopefully be able to file a complaint and get some results. Some assistance would be great, I am a bit worried that since things are really well for me and my son, if I file a complaint they might start a lot of s*** with me and make things really difficult for me that's why I haven't made a complaint yet.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Making a complaint against the social worker

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:18 pm

Dear Nvff2011

Thank you for your post. It is good to hear that your son is in your care, no longer under a care order and is now receiving support/services as a child in need.

You have obviously worked very hard to address any concerns that there were in the past. It is clear from your post that the whole situation was very distressing for you but especially the circumstances in which your son was removed and the way the case came to court in the first place. I am sorry that you and your son had to go through such a difficult time.

You are now thinking about making a complaint as you have moved on a lot but are somewhat worried about what the impact of this might be, as your son still has a social worker.

Making a complaint can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Our advice sheet on complaints explains all about how to do this.

Before making a complaint about your own son’s case, there are a couple of very important points you should be aware of. They suggest that your complaint may not be investigated in the way you might want. Also unfortunately a complaint cannot give you back the 2 weeks you lost with your son.

1. There is a time limit to making complaints which is ideally within one year of the action you would like to complain about. It can be possible to complain later or to refer onto the Local Government Ombudsman in certain situations. However, a considerable amount of time has already passed in the situation you describe.

2. Children’s services usually will not consider complaints where the issues have already been addressed and decided upon by the court. In your son’s case, a care order was made as there were significant concerns for your son at that time (although the order did come to an end as the court agreed that it was no longer needed).

I don’t know if you discussed your concerns about a breach of your human rights with your solicitor at the time. It is usually best to raise any issues about court proceedings while the case is still open to the court. You might still want to discuss the matter with the solicitor who represented you or with another solicitor if you would like specific legal advice.

If you decide that making a formal complaint is not the best way forward there are still things you could do to.

You make some very good points about how children’s services worked with you and which illustrate how they might work differently and more fairly with families in such difficult situations. Your negative experience shows how they could better support parents to make changes so that they can show that it is safe and right for children to return home.

You can ask for an informal meeting with your social worker and the team manager to talk through your family’s experiences and how things could have been done differently.

You could ask if your local authority has a parents’ panel or any other forum where parents can provide feedback and professionals can learn from parents’ perspectives.

We have a forum called Your Family Your Voice (YFYV) which you might be interested in as it is an alliance of families and practitioners working together to transform the system. YFYV has produced a charter for parents and local authority children’s services departments which promotes better and more respectful working between families and practitioners.

I hope this is helpful for you and that however you choose to proceed that you and your son continue to flourish.

Best wishes


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