Social services complaints - who can use the complaints procedure
Are you are unhappy about the service you have had from your local authority social services department? This page tells you who can use the local authority's (LA) complaints procedure.
Who can use the complaints procedure?
If you are unhappy about the service you have had from your social services department, you may be able to use the local authority's complaints procedure. There may be other steps you could take too.
Before you decide what to do, you should consider which action would be most likely to get the result you need.
Complaints about children's services
A child, can make a complaint themselves, or a representative can make a complaint on a child's behalf, for example:
- a parent, or someone with parental responsibility for the child
- a local authority foster carer
- someone the LA thinks has sufficient interest in the child's welfare and is a suitable person.
If the complaint relates to a looked after child, a child in need or a care leaver, the LA has a duty to provide an advocate if you want one.
- More about children and local authority care
- More about local authority services for children in need
Do you want to complain about social services for a child or an older person? If so, the Children's Commissioner for Wales, or the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales may be able to help.
Complaints about adult's services
If you are an adult, you can use the complaints procedure about a service if both the following apply:
- the LA has a power or a duty to provide or arrange a service for you
- the LA is aware of your need, or possible need, for such a service.
A representative can make a complaint on an adult's behalf if one of the following applies to the adult:
- they want the representative to act on their behalf
- they lack capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
- they have died.
The representative must be someone the LA thinks has sufficient interest in the adult's welfare and is a suitable person.
Help to complain
Help for young people
If you are a child in care, a child in need or a care leaver, the LA must offer you help to find an advocate who will help you to make your complaint.
Meic, is an information, advice and support helpline for children and young people under 25. A trained adviser will either provide you with information, signpost you to relevant services, or transfer you to an independent professional advocate.
The contact details for Meic are:
Freephone: 08088 023456 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Free text: 84001
The Children's Commissioner for Wales may also be able to help you with your complaint.
Help for adults
If you are an adult, the local authority doesn't have to help you to find an advocate but it must give you information about advocacy schemes which may be able to help you.
Information about local advocacy services is also available from the UK Advocacy Network:
UK Advocacy Network
c/o 8 Beulah View
A Citizens Advice Bureau can also help with your complaint.
The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales may also be able to help you with your complaint.
Older People's Commissioner for Wales
Mount Stuart Square
Tel: 08442 640670, they will return your call if you prefer.
Other useful information
On the Welsh Government website at www.wales.gov.uk you can find information about the complaints process and a copy of the guidance issued to local authority social services about dealing with complaints.