All Children’s Services Departments have their own complaints procedures written by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board for dealing with child protection conference matters. You will need to ask for the complaints process in your area.
Generally speaking, the procedure is as follows:
1. Your complaint should first go to the child protection conference chair (the person responsible for managing the meeting). This may get things sorted out straight away but if not, you can make a complaint to that person’s manager.
2. If you are not happy with the outcome, you can tell the Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). Usually the Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board will write to you telling you what they think about your complaint and make a decision about what should happen next (if anything).
3. Again, if you are not happy with the outcome, then you should tell the Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children Board. Usually they will then organise a meeting between a few senior people from some of the organisations who are represented on the Local Safeguarding Children Board to look into your complaint (such as Health, or Education) – this is sometimes called an Appeals Committee or a Complaints Panel. The Appeals Committee or Complaints Panel make recommendations about how to sort things out.
This could include deciding:
- that the child protection conference is held again, often with a different conference chair
- a review conference is brought forward
- the decision of the first conference is confirmed.
They may also ask someone independent of the local authority Children’s Services to look into your complaint. This person will tell the Local Safeguarding Children Board meeting what they think about your complaint too.
If you are also complaining directly to Children’s Services about services provided or not provided as a result of child protection assessments or child protection plans then the two complaints should be co-ordinated to make sure that all the things you are unhappy about are looked at together. So the Complaints officer should speak to the child protection chair’s manager.
If you want to complain about the services provided or not provided by another agency, or about a the performance of a professional from another agency then you should ask for that agency’s complaints procedure.