Complaints

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

Guidance on Chapter 5 of the Regulations – Policies, Records, Complaints and Notifications

Regulation 5 - Engaging with the Wider System to Ensure Each Child’s Needs are Met

The Children’s Views, Wishes and Feelings Standard

IMPORTANT CONTACTS

Children's Commissioner for England
Sanctuary Buildings
20 Great Smith Street
London
SW1P 3BT

Help at Hand – Free, confidential support, advice and information for young people in care or living away from home.

Tel: 0800 528 0731 (free phone number)
Email: help.team@childrenscommissioner.gov.uk

Ofsted (who regulate and inspect Children’s Homes)

Tel: 0300 123 1231
E-mail: enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk
Ofsted Website

OUTCOME

Any complaint will be addressed without delay and the complainant is kept informed of progress.


Contents

  1. Key Points
  2. Complaints Manger - Roles and Responsibility
  3. Responsibility of the Registered Home Manager
  4. Operation of the Procedure
  5. Recourse to Other Procedures
  6. Neighbour Complaints


1. Key Points

  1. Children living in our homes must know how and feel able to complain if they are unhappy with any aspect of living in the home or the services / support they are receiving. Complaints will be addressed seriously and without delay, and fully responded to within a maximum of 28 days. Children should be kept informed of the progress;
  2. All efforts should be made to resolve the complaint as quickly as possible and as early in the complaints procedure as possible. Within 14 days normally or 28 days in exceptional circumstance;
  3. Complaints will be investigated in an even-handed and fair manner, respecting the rights of both complainants and workers;
  4. The Hull Children and Families Services Complaints Manager will oversee the response to the complaint;
  5. An informal complaints process should be accessible in all children's homes.


2. Complaints Manger - Roles and Responsibility

The Complaints Manager will:

  1. Act in the best interests of the child;
  2. On receiving a complaint, aim to see the affected child within 3 days (or the complainant, if they are not the child);
  3. Notify and consult with appropriate line managers about the further handling of the complaint including:
    • Any necessary interim action in relation to the affected child, the complainant and the person who is the subject of the complaint, if appropriate;
    • Consideration of any other established procedures to be implemented such as Child Protection / Safeguarding and Disciplinary Procedures and involvement of the Police and /or other agencies. Outcomes of such processes should be recorded on the complaint file. The child should be informed of the process being followed by the Complaints Manager or the Home Manager;
    • Arranging for the appointment of an Advocate to negotiate directly on resolving the complaint or to support the child through the formal procedure;
    • Keeping a complete record of all complaints received and how they are dealt with, including the outcome;
    • Reporting to the Director of the Children and Families Service on complaints received, how they have been dealt with and the results and identify any major issues affecting looked after children.


3. Responsibility of the Registered Home Manager

The Home’s Manager will:

  1. Ensure that children, and where appropriate their families, significant others and Independent Visitors, are provided with information on how to complain, including how they can secure access to an Advocate. This information will be written and will make reference to the rights of service users to make complaints to a variety of sources including Ofsted, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Coram Voice and other organisations offering this service;
  2. Ensure that Advocates provided are suitably skilled, for example in working with children who have a disability or communication difficulty;
  3. Provide the home with a written policy and procedural guidelines on considering and responding to representations and complaints in accordance with legal requirements and relevant government guidance;
  4. Ensure that all staff receive training in complaints procedures;
  5. Regularly review the records of complaints by children or concerning the welfare of children, to check satisfactory operation of the complaints procedure and to identify patterns of complaint and action taken on individual complaints;
  6. Take any appropriate action from such a review in relation to the homes policies and practices, as well as taking any necessary further follow up action in relation to individual cases.


4. Operation of the Procedure

  1. All homes should ensure that provision is available for both informal resolution of complaints, such as negotiation, arbitration and mediation, as well as the formal Complaints Procedure;
  2. The informal complaints process could include the use of child friendly resources such as a 'grumble book' or 'talkabout forms' to ensure that children are able to raise complaints and expressions of dissatisfaction with the service they are receiving in an informal manner;
  3. A written record (the Complaint Log) should to be kept of all complaints made by children and significant others involved in their care. The record should include the nature of the complaint and the outcome, with details of any action taken. An agreed format will be used for this purpose and stored in the appropriate file;
  4. If the child or carer does not feel their complaint has been resolved informally by the home manager they have access to the Complaints Procedure and the Complaints Manager;
  5. The Complaints Manager should be notified of all complaints being dealt with informally and by the Home’s Manager, which involve complaints against staff members or other residents, by being sent a copy of the written record of the matter;
  6. Once the Complaints Manager has become involved in the management of the complaint it is being dealt with at Stage One of the Complaints Procedure and senior managers will be advised that a complaint has been received and is being responded to;
  7. An Advocate will be offered to any child making a complaint through the formal procedure and will be directly involved in any negotiation required to resolve the complaint. Outcomes will be reported to the appropriate managers;
  8. If a child, or any person making a complaint on their behalf, remains dissatisfied with the attempted complaint resolution they will then have access to Stage Two of the formal complaints procedure which will involve the appointment of a Stage Two investigating officer and an Independent Person (Children Act 1989). The formal Complaints Procedure is then followed;
  9. If the complaint remains unresolved then the complainant has access to a Panel Review of the complaint, which reports on its findings to the Director of Children and Families Service.


5. Recourse to Other Procedures

If, during the course of a complaint being made, it becomes apparent that the issue being complained about potentially falls into Child Protection / Safeguarding or disciplinary action then the complaints procedure will be suspended and appropriate procedures invoked by the responsible manager. Outcomes of Child Protection or Disciplinary Procedures should be notified to the Children's Complaints Manager to record on file and for inclusion in reporting on outcomes.

Children and young people need to be kept informed by the Home’s Manager of the progress and outcomes to any matters dealt with by these procedures.


6. Neighbour Complaints

Neighbours of children's homes who wish to make a complaint about the children living in the home are not able to access the Children and Families Complaints Procedure as they are not making a complaint on behalf of children or delivery of a service. However they are able to access the Council's Corporate Complaints Procedure. Attempts should always be made by the responsible manager to resolve the complaint as quickly and early as possible. Home Managers should inform Service Manager of any complaints made by neighbours.