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Complaints, comments and compliments about Children's Services

Hampshire County Council provides a lot of different services to children, young people and their parents/carers through the Children's Services Department.

As someone who may be receiving these services, you may not always be happy with them. You might have ideas about how we could do things better or differently.

No matter what the size of the problem or idea, we will listen to what you say and let you know what we are doing about it.

What’s the difference?

Sometimes it is difficult to give things a ‘label’. In a way it does not matter what you call it, we just want to hear from you. Here are some examples:

  • a complaint
    something you are unhappy about, you think is wrong, or has not been done

  • a compliment
    something you are pleased with and want to tell us about

  • a comment, idea or view
    something you think it would be useful for us to know

Knowing when we get it right, or how we can get it right for you, can help us to get it right for others too.

What if I have an idea, comment or compliment about a service?

If you have a comment or compliment you can tell the member of staff yourself or their manager. You can email, telephone or write to the Complaints Team.

What if I have a complaint?

If you are unhappy about a service you receive from us, or feel you are not getting the service you need, you can make a complaint.

You can talk to someone you trust before making your complaint, such as a:

  • member of your family

  • teacher or pastoral support person

  • foster carer

  • youth worker

  • key worker

  • social worker

  • member of staff

  • an advocate.

An advocate is someone who will speak on your behalf and support you to make your complaint. If you think you would like an advocate, please contact the Complaints Team and they will arrange this for you.

Any of these people may be able to sort things out or help you to make your complaint.

If you do not want to speak to anyone before making your complaint, you can contact the Complaints Team directly.

What happens next?

The complaints process has three stages. Most complaints are sorted out at the first stage. This diagram shows what will happen with your complaint at Stage 1.

If we are unable to resolve your complaint at Stage 1, we will speak with you about moving your complaint to Stage 2. This is where we ask an investigating officer and an independent person (people who do not work for Hampshire County Council) to investigate your complaint.

At the end of the investigation, they will write a report. Once this is finished we will write to you and we can meet with you to talk through the report and what Children’s Services is going to do about it.

What if I am still not happy?

You can ask to take your complaint to Stage 3. A Review Panel (of three independent people who do not work for Hampshire County Council) will be asked to consider your complaint. They will then make suggestions to the Director of Children’s Services about what can be done.

The Complaints Team will help you in every way possible to make your complaint and to get it sorted in a way that is helpful to you.

Local Government Ombudsman

If you are not happy with the way Children’s Services has dealt with your complaint at any time, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). The LGO has been set up by the Government to look at complaints about councils. The LGO does not work for Hampshire County Council and does not take sides.

You can contact the LGO by:

If you would like help and support with contacting the LGO, you can ask a person who you trust or the Complaints Team to contact them for you.

School complaints

If you have a complaint about your school, you need to talk to a teacher, the deputy headteacher or headteacher. Schools have their own complaints procedures that they have to follow.

If it is helpful, you can contact the Complaints Team who will talk you through how to make a complaint to a school.

Don’t worry

Complaining can seem difficult and some people worry it might make things worse, but by telling us you can help us to help you.

If at any point you are unsure or anxious about what is happening to your complaint, please talk to someone you trust or contact the Complaints Team.

You can contact the Children’s Services Complaints Team by:

  • telephone: 01962 847 484 (you can leave a message if we are not there)

  • text: 01962 847 484

  • email:

  • post: Hampshire County Council, Children’s Services Department, FREEPOST (SCE11221), Winchester,Hampshire SO23 8ZZ. Writing CS Complaints Team on the back of the envelope will get it to us quicker

  • filling out the form on this leaflet and sending it back to us.

This information is also available as a leaflet which you can download.

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