Children's social care, education and SEND complaints

Making a complaint about a service

You have the right to express your views and to be listened to by the adult professionals making decisions that affect you and your life. Please see the Children's Rights Alliance website for more information about your rights as a child or young person.

If things do go wrong, we have a complaints procedure you can use to have us look into your complaint and put matters right as quickly as we can. It is important to make your complaint as soon as possible, because we may not be able to consider your complaint if it is about something that happened over 12 months ago.

You can make a complaint about the following services:

  • SEND provision and associated transport and 16+ team
  • Education Welfare
  • Inclusions
  • Virtual school
  • access to education
  • elective home education
  • early years
  • youth support
  • youth justice
  • Annual Feedback Reports
  • Schools and Learning
  • Children and Families

You can make a complaint about them if you feel:

  • Children's social care, education and/or SEND services are not giving you the help you need.
  • You are not happy with or do not understand the decisions that are being made about your life.
  • You do not feel listened to.

Who can make a complaint?

As child or young person you have the right to make a complaint, either on your own, or with the help of a relative, friend or an advocate. The person who makes the complaint must either be the person receiving the services or a person complaining on behalf of the person receiving the services. These include:

  • children and young people,
  • their parents,
  • carers or legal guardians,
  • someone from a voluntary organisation, such as a mediator or advocate who can help you voice your concerns,
  • someone who has your permission to represent you
  • you can also ask a translator or a sign language interpreter to help you make a complaint.

More information about the Children Act complaint process can be found below.

Children's social care: getting the best from complaints - GOV.UK

The Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006

How to make a complaint

We can resolve most complaints quickly and successfully at your local office. If you have a concern, you can:

  • talk about it with the member of staff you have most contact with, or
  • ask to speak to or meet with the team manager.

If you have tried the above and your complaint has not been resolved, you or someone acting on your behalf can complete our online complaint form.

If you need help from an advocate at any stage of your complaint, you can let us know on the online complaint form.

Online complaint form

If your complaint is in relation to Adoption Services, please follow the feedback and complaints procedure on the Adoption South East website.

Once you have submitted your complaint you will receive an automated email acknowledgement. This will include a link to create a "Complaint Account" which will enable you to monitor the progress of your complaint, withdraw or escalate your complaint and, if necessary, log new complaints via your personal complaint account. When creating an account, please ensure that you use the same email address you used to submit your complaint.

If you unable to complete this online form, please contact our Children's and Education Customer Relations Team.

Once you have exhausted all stages of the process, and you are still not satisfied, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman to discuss your concerns further. You can also ask for advice from the Local Government Ombudsman at any stage of your complaint.

If your complaint relates to concerns about the Personal Data we hold about you/your child or about any matter related to the Data Protection Act 1989 as updated by GDPR 2018 you can seek advice from the Information Commissioners Office.

Children and young people can get help with making a complaint

If you need help in making a complaint you can choose an advocate. An advocate is someone who can help you say what you want and be listened to.

An advocate will:

  • help you with problems you have with children's social care, education and/or SEND services,
  • will meet with you and listen to what you are not happy about and how you want it sorted,
  • will not do anything without your permission, and you can tell the advocate what to do and who he or she can contact about your complaint,
  • will support you to make your complaint and try and resolve the problem,
  • will support you until you feel happy with how the complaint has been sorted.

Please note, your advocate will let you know if the advocacy service may have to break this confidentiality, if you or someone else is thought to be at risk.

Choosing an advocate

You can ask someone you know to be your advocate. This can be a teacher, a relative, your Personal Advisor (PA), SEND Case Officer or maybe a friend.

If you need help in finding an advocate, you can contact our Children's and Education Customer Relations Team, who will who will contact our advocacy provider, Reconstruct, on your behalf and ask them to contact you.

Contact our Children's and Education Customer Relations Team

  • Address: Children's and Education Customer Relations Team, Advocacy and complaints, Quadrant Court, 35 Guildford Road, Woking GU22 7QQ
  • Telephone: 01483 519095
  • Email:

Children and Education Services Annual Complaints Reports

Information on complaints about Children's Social Care and Education Services is included within the Annual Complaints Report shared with Audit and Governance Committee each year. Copies of the Complaint Reports can be found on the Council's Audit and Governance Committee webpage via this link: Browse meetings - Audit and Governance Committee.

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