Social services complaints - who can use the complaints procedure

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland

If you're unhappy about the service you have had from your social services department, you might be able to use your local council's complaints procedure. There might be other steps you can 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 your local council 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, your local council has a duty to provide an advocate if you want one.

You can find out how to complain about a local council's involvement with your family.

Top tip

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're an adult, you can use the complaints procedure about a service if both the following apply:

  • the local council has a power or a duty to provide or arrange a service for you

  • the local council 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've died

The representative must be someone the local council thinks has sufficient interest in the adult's welfare and is a suitable person.

Help to complain

Help for young people

If you're a child in care, a child in need or a care leaver, your local council 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:

Meic

Freephone: 08088 023456 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

Free text: 84001

Email: help@meiccymru.org

Website: www.meiccymru.org

The Children's Commissioner for Wales might also help you with your complaint.

Help for adults

If you're an adult, the local council doesn't have to help you to find an advocate - but it must give you information about advocacy schemes that might help you.

Information about local advocacy services is also available from the UK Advocacy Network:

UK Advocacy Network

c/o 8 Beulah View

Leeds

LS6 2LA

Email:  office@u-kan.co.uk

Website: www.u-kan.co.uk

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales might also be able to help you with your complaint.

Older People's Commissioner for Wales

Cambrian Buildings

Mount Stuart Square

Butetown

Cardiff

CF10 5FL

Tel: 08442 640670, they will return your call if you prefer.

Email: ask@olderpeoplewales.com

Other useful information

On the Welsh Government website you can find:

  • information about the complaints process

  • a copy of the guidance issued to local authority social services about dealing with complaints