Children's services complaints

Taking complaints about children's services further

If you are not satisfied with the first response to your complaint you have the right to take it further. These steps are only for complaints accepted as statutory children’s services complaints. Next steps are different for the council’s own complaints procedure.


You may be entitled to an investigation or take your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. Contact us for advice.

If we investigate your complaint:

  • an investigating officer who is new to your case will look into the issues raised
  • an independent person from The Young Lives Foundation, the children's charity, will also be appointed to consider your complaint
  • the investigating officer and the independent person will contact you to make sure they fully understand the complaint.


When the investigation is complete, we will send you a full response. We aim to do this within 25 working days of the investigation starting, but it can take longer. We will keep you informed of progress. Where it is not possible to complete the investigation within 25 working days, it may be extended to a maximum of 65 working days.


If you are not happy with the outcome of the investigation you have a right to request further consideration at a Stage 3 review.

If you are able to progress your complaint to Stage 3:

  • your complaint will be reviewed by a panel of three people who are new to your complaint and who not employed by Kent County Council but have experience of children’s social work
  • you will be given the opportunity to attend the review to present the reasons why you are not happy with the Stage 2 investigation
  • the investigating officer and independent person from Stage 2 will also be invited to answer questions from the panel
  • the council will be represented, usually by the senior manager who responded to the findings of the Stage 2 investigation.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

If you remain unhappy with the response to your complaint you have the right to take your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman who is independent of Kent County Council. You may contact them at any time but they would normally expect you to complete our complaints procedure first.

Other organisations that can help

The Young Lives Foundation

If you are a child or young person in care, you can get help to make a complaint from The Young Lives Foundation: