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Statutory Process


Complaints that relate to the provision of services to a child or young person may be eligible for consideration under the statutory complaints procedure. The Statutory Complaints Procedure is a three stage process – Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3. 

Eligibility will usually depend on whether the child is a ‘Looked After Child’, or a Child in Need, and will be determined by who is making the complaint, and the nature of the complaint. 

Complaints that are eligible will be investigated under the Children Act 1989 Complaints and Representations Procedure.

 

Stage 1 - Local Resolution


At Stage 1, the complaint will be investigated by the Service Manager with responsibility for the Service that is being complained about. 

You will receive a written acknowledgement of your complaint within 5 working days of the date we receive it, confirming the concerns that are to be addressed. The acknowledgement letter will also advise you of the name and contact details of the Service Manager who will be dealing with the matter and when you can expect to receive a response. 
 
We will always aim to provide you with a full written response within 10 working days of the date your complaint was made. However, if the case is particularly complex and it is not possible to respond within the required timescale, we are able to request an extension of a further 10 working days to deal with your complaint (taking the total time to respond to your complaint to 20 working days). We will always ensure that you are kept updated about the timescale that we are working to.

The Service Manager will investigate your complaint, and will gather evidence to establish what actually happened in the case. The Service Manager may contact you to find out more information, or may invite you to a meeting to discuss your concerns further. This will enable them to make an assessment as to whether the correct process has been followed, and to consider whether any further action is required to resolve your complaint. The Service Manager will write to you setting out the findings of their investigation and any action that they will take to resolve matters.
 
We hope that we would be able to satisfactorily resolve your complaint at this stage of the process. However, if at the end of Stage 1 you remain dissatisfied, you can contact the Complaints & Customer Care Team and request that your complaint is escalated to the next stage of the process, Stage 2.

Stage 2 - Investigation and Independent Review

You can ask us to review your complaint at Stage 2 if:

  • You are unhappy with your complaint response or the outcome at stage 1;
  • If you are dissatisfied with the way you feel your complaint was handled; or
  • If you did not receive a response within the set timescale provided (i.e. a total of 20 working days).


To take the matter forward to Stage 2, we will need to know what it is in your Stage 1 response that you disagree with, which part of the complaint you feel wasn’t handled well, and what further action you would like to be taken.
At Stage 2, your complaint will be independently investigated by two people who are not employed by Tameside Council; they will review how your complaint was dealt with by the Service Manager and will establish whether they are in agreement with the findings and the outcome from Stage 1 of the process.

The people investigating the complaint will visit you to talk to you about your complaint so that they can get a full understanding of your concerns.  The investigators will also meet with staff who have been involved with your case, and they will look at the files that Children’s Services hold. 

The investigators will each write a report setting out their findings and any recommendations for the Council to consider to resolve your complaint.  The reports will be sent to the Head of Service with responsibility for the service complained about, and the Head of Service will prepare a written response to the findings and any recommendations of the investigation. 

You will be sent a copy of the investigation reports and the response from the Head of Service.

At this stage of the process, the timescale is 25 working days, although this can be extended to a maximum of 65 working days. The Complaints & Customer Care Team will keep you informed of timescales. 
 

Stage 3 - Review Panel


If you are not happy with either the outcome of your Stage 2 complaint investigation or the outcome response from the Head of Service, you can ask to progress your complaint to the next stage of the process, Stage 3.

At Stage 3, your complaint will be considered by a Panel of three independent people who will meet to consider the adequacy of the investigation and response at Stage 2, and may make further recommendations for the Council to consider. The Panel cannot reinvestigate your complaint, nor can they consider any new complaints. 

You will be invited to the meeting, along with the people who investigated the complaint at stage 2, and the relevant Head of Service. At the meeting, you will have the opportunity to say what it is you are still unhappy with. 

Following the meeting, the Panel will produce a report, and this will be sent to you and to the Director of Children’s Services within 5 working days of the date of the Review Panel meeting. 

The Director then has 15 working days to write to you in response to the findings of the Panel, and any recommendations they may have made.
 

What options are available once the Councils process has concluded?

 

The Review Panel is the last stage of the Local Authority statutory complaints process. If you remain dissatisfied with the response to your complaint at this stage, you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for further advice.

You can find out more about the LGSCO here

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