A comment or complaint is when you tell us about something good or something that has gone wrong. If there is a problem, or if you want to tell us about something good, we want to hear from you.
Unhappy with the service or care you receive?
If you are a child or young person and receive care or a service from Oxfordshire County Council, and are unhappy with your worker or the care or service you receive, you have the right to complain about it. You won’t ever be treated unfairly because of something you have said.
Why tell us?
You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect and to make your own choices whenever possible. If you are unhappy about the service or care you receive from us, it’s very important you let someone know. The good and bad things we hear can help us improve our services.
When you contact us, we will:
- take everything you have to say seriously
- help you resolve any complaints as quickly as possible
- use what you tell us to improve our services
- not discriminate against you in any way
- get back to you as quickly as we can.
How to make a complaint
Help with having your say
Anyone can help as long as they have your permission.
If you are unhappy or worried about your care, you can speak directly to your carer, social worker or Oxfordshire County Council can provide you with someone whose job is to listen to you, help you get your message across and make sure that others listen to you too – they are called an advocate.
If you are a child or young person
VIVA, the Volunteer Independent Visiting and Advocacy service, is run by Oxfordshire County Council and provides people who are trained to help you make a complaint and find a resolution for it. Their job is to:
- listen to you and prepare your views, wishes and feelings for meetings
- ensure you understand what people are saying
- help you say what you want to say
- make sure people listen to you
- help you to know your rights or find information
- take 100 per cent of your instructions
- help you feel safe
If you would like someone from VIVA to help you, contact them.
What happens when you make a complaint?
Once you contact us to make your complaint we will ensure that we respond to you within three days. We usually contact you to find out more about your complaint and advise on how we will work with you to resolve it.
We have three stages to our complaints process.
Stage 1 - informal stage
You can try and resolve your concern directly with your social worker. If you are unable to do this, please contact us. Most complaints are successfully resolved at this stage within 10 working days, but if you are unhappy with your Stage 1 response we may offer you a face to face meeting before progressing to Stage 2.
Stage 2 - formal investigation stage
If you still do not think your complaint has been resolved, you can request to progress to Stage 2. In order for us to do this, you need to tell the member of staff dealing with your complaint that you are still not happy and want to take things further or contact us directly.
We will ensure that your complaint is investigated fully and fairly.
When the investigation has been completed, we will contact you with the results and tell you of any action that will be taken. You may also be invited to come and talk with us to discuss the response.
Stage 3 - review panel stage
You can request for your complaint to be reviewed at Stage 3 if you remain unsatisfied with our response. We will set up a panel of three independent people who will review the Stage 2 investigation. They will report to the Head of Children's Social Care who will consider carefully if there is more that could be done to resolve the complaint. You will receive a copy of a panel report and the Head of Children's Social Care’s response within 20 days of the panel.
Complaints about Child Protection conferences
The council has a separate process for complaints about Child Protection Conferences. This is for complaints about the management of the conference, the decision about the category or harm or professionals' contributions, performance or provisions of services.
Taking things further
If you feel unhappy with how we handled your complaint, you can speak to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. It is their job to investigate complaints about councils and other organisations in a fair and independent way.