Children's social care complaints are processed according to the The Children Act 1989 Complaints Procedure and its accompanying guidance, Getting the Best from Complaints.

Complaints that do not meet the requirements of the statutory procedure will be processed as a corporate complaint.

Making a complaint

Contact us if you would like to make a complaint about something that happened in the past 12 months.


Write to us

Sutton Council, Civic Officer, St. Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA

You should include as much detail as possible, providing any supporting documents such as emails or letters. If you are submitting a complaint on behalf of someone else, we will need proof of authorisation for you to act on their behalf.

Complaints process

Stage 1 - Local Resolution

Once you have submitted your complaint, we will let you know that it’s been received within 2 working days. 

Your complaint will be investigated and responded to in writing within 10 working days. On occasion we may need to extend this, if an extension is required, you will be contacted prior to the 10 working day deadline.

The investigating officer may contact you to discuss or clarify certain aspects of your complaint.

If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint at Stage 1, you can contact the investigating officer to discuss the complaint, the response and your ongoing concerns.

Alternatively, you can request escalation of your complaint to Stage 2. You will need to explain why you remain unhappy and advise of any outcomes you are seeking from your complaint. This will be reviewed and if appropriate, your complaint will be escalated to Stage 2.

Stage 2 - Investigation and Adjudication

With your consent, an external independent investigating officer (IO) and an independent person (IP) will be appointed to investigate your complaint. They will contact you directly to agree on the outstanding issues, and will then prepare a report within 25 working days. Occasionally, this will need to be extended depending on the complexity of the concerns being raised, if this is the case, the IO will advise you of this.

A Head of Service in Children's social care will then review the IO and IP report and respond to the findings and any recommendations with their views and whether they're in agreement with the IO and IP, this is known as adjudication. If they're not in agreement, this will be explained to you.

If you are unhappy with the Stage 2 adjudication response, you have 20 working days to request a review of your complaint at Stage 3. This is known as a Review Panel. You can do this by contacting the Customer Care team at You will need to explain why you remain unhappy and what outcomes you are seeking.

Stage 3 - Review Panel

A Review Panel will be convened to further review your complaint. The panel will be made up of external independent panel members, the IO and IP from the Stage 2 investigation and the Head of Service who responded at Stage 2. We will work with all parties to ensure the date of the Review Panel is suitable for everyone. We would encourage you to attend the review and you are welcome to bring a friend or representative with you. If you would prefer not to attend the Review Panel, you will be able to provide information to the panel in writing.

Once the Review Panel is concluded, the panel members will have 5 working days to write a report on their findings and any recommendations. The Director of Children's Services will then have 15 working days to respond to the panel's report with their views on the panel's recommendations and if they will be carried out, this will be the Council's final decision.

If you are not happy with the final outcome

If you remain unhappy following the final decision on your complaint, you have the right to refer it to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

If you’re under 18 years old, in Care or leaving Care

Mentoring Advocacy and Peer Support (MAPS) can give you independent help to have your voice heard. They can help you to:

  • discuss your care package 
  • get support with your LAC reviews
  • get support to make a complaint about your experience in or leaving care

MAPS is part of Volunteer Centre Sutton. You can call them on 0208 661 5900 or send them an email at