Barnet children's social care complaints process

We aim to provide a complaints process that is straightforward, accessible and is resolution focused. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly, you are unhappy with how a decision has been made or are unhappy with the quality of service you have received, please get in touch. We need your feedback to ensure that we are always learning and improving our services for the families in Barnet. 

If you have a complaint about children’s social care then we will follow the process set out below. This is in accordance with The Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations (2006).

The Department for Education has provided a guide to help explain the legislation and complaints process called ‘Getting the Best from Complaints'.

Informal resolution

If there’s something that you’re unhappy with, you can speak to a member of staff, or ask for their manager’s details. If you’re unsure about who to contact, you can contact the Complaints Officer, who can put you in touch with the right person. 

Often, the best way to resolve things quickly is for you to talk it through with a manager to agree a way forward. The manager may offer to have a telephone discussion or face to face meeting to resolve the points of your complaint.

Stage 1 (Local Resolution)

A complaint will be registered formally under Stage 1 if:

  • we have already tried to resolve the complaint informally, and you are still unhappy
  • you tell us that you want to make a formal complaint 
  • we believe it is necessary to use the formal procedure to resolve or respond to the complaint

Once your complaint is received you will receive an acknowledgement within 2 working days to notify you of who will be investigating your complaint and responsible for responding to you. 

The manager handling your complaint will reply to you within 10 working days. If more time is needed to investigate your complaint because it is complex, we will let you know and respond to your complaint within 20 working days.

Stage 2 (Investigation)

If you are unhappy with the response from Stage 1, you can write to the Family Services Complaints Officer advising us of why you feel the Stage 1 response did not answer your complaint, and request an independent investigation. 

An Investigating Officer will be appointed to conduct an investigation, and an Independent Person will oversee the process and ensure that it is carried out fairly. The Investigating Officer will write a report on their findings. This report will be used as a basis for our response to you.

We will aim to write to you within 25 days (or 65 working days if there are complications).

Stage 3 (Review)

If you are dissatisfied with how the Stage 2 investigation was undertaken, you can request a Review Panel, who will meet to review your complaint. This panel will not investigate the complaint again but will decide if the investigation and the results were fair.

Local Government Ombudsman

If after Stage 3 you are still unhappy with the Review Panel’s response, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate your complaint. They look at complaints about councils and other organisations. It is a free service. Their job is to investigate complaints in a fair and independent way, and they do not take sides.

Help making a complaint

If you need help to make a complaint, you can contact the Family Rights Group or the Citizen's Advice Bureau. You can also contact your Local Councillor or a member of the Children, Education, Libraries & Safeguarding Committee for support.

If you are a child in care or a care leaver or have a Child Protection Plan, you can ask for an advocate to help you. If you would like an advocate, you can call Action for Children on 020 7254 9408 or email or look on their website at


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