Complaints and feedback about children and adults services

We are committed to putting you, our customers, first. That means we're always pleased to hear what you have to say about the services we provide, whether you are a child, young adult, service user, family member, resident, business or visitor to Swindon Borough Council.

You can help us to improve our children and adult services by letting us know if we are doing a good job and how we can do better.

You can complete an online form to register a formal complaint, or to record a compliment or comment. The complaints procedure covers complaints made to children’s social services, children’s community health services and early help teams, and includes our SEND Service. 

You may also submit a complaint about children and adults services via email at or by calling 01793 445500.

Please note: this procedure does not cover educational and school complaints. If your complaint relates to a specific school or a policy in a specific school, you must contact the school directly. Most schools have their own policies and procedures regarding complaints or disputes.

Exemptions to the complaints procedure

Regulation 8 (complaints policy) provides us with discretion in deciding whether to consider complaints where to do so would prejudice any of the following concurrent investigations:

  • court proceedings
  • tribunals
  • disciplinary proceedings
  • criminal proceedings

We have the right to reject or close down any case that is currently sitting within the court system. This includes making a complaint about any outcome of any court proceedings or what has transpired during the proceedings. This would be dealt with through the Appeals process.  

However, it should be noted that once the concurrent investigation has been concluded, and your complaint relates to Children’s services, the complainant may resubmit their complaint as long as it is within one year of the conclusion of the concurrent investigation.

If you are a child in care or a care leaver and need assistance in submitting a complaint, then please contact Coram Voice. It is a charitable organisation. They can help you to get advice, show you what to do and make sure you are listened to.

How we deal with a complaint about children’s services and the SEND service

You have a right to have your complaint investigated and to receive a full and prompt reply. Should you need help with the complaints process we will always try to find someone to support and assist you. Complaints can be about any aspect of children and young people’s services. We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days.

Stage one: Local resolution

Your complaint will be investigated by the relevant team manager. You will receive a written response within ten working days. If the case is complex or if you require an advocate, we will respond to you within 20 working days.

If you are unsatisfied with the response and outcome of the Stage 1 investigation, you are able to request escalation of your complaint to the next stage of the complaints procedure. You should request this in writing within 20 working days. 

Stage two: Formal independent investigation

Your complaint will be investigated by an independent investigating officer and independent person, who will meet with you to discuss your complaint and agree a 'Statement of Complaint' with you. You will receive a response within 25 working days.

If the case is complex, or further time is required to complete the investigation, we will advise you of this and request an extension of up to 65 working days to respond.

If you remain unsatisfied with the outcome following the Stage 2 investigation and/or the recommendations of the complaint, you have the right to request escalation of your complaint to a Stage 3 Independent Panel Hearing within 20 working days.

Stage three: Independent panel review

The panel will consist of an independent chairperson and two independent members. They will meet you and give you an opportunity to put forward your views.  They will review the complaint process within 30 working days of your request.  

You will receive a report of findings and recommendations from the chairperson of the panel within five working days. You will also receive a copy of the local authority's response to the panel's report within 15 working days of receiving the report.

Make a complaint, comment or compliment about children's services

How we deal with a complaint about adult social care

When you make a formal complaint, we will contact you to ensure that we understand your concerns completely. Where possible, we will also discuss what you would like to happen to help resolve your complaint. We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days.

If your complaint involves health, home care services, residential or a nursing home, we will discuss this with you to agree how the complaint will be handled. 

Stage one: Local resolution

Your complaint will be investigated by the relevant team manager. You will receive a written  response within ten working days. If the case is complex, we will respond to you within 20 working days. We will keep you informed about the progress of your complaint and discuss any changes to the handling of your complaint with you.

Stage two: Escalated response - service director review

If you are unhappy with the response you receive at stage one, you can request that your complaint is escalated to stage two. The adults and children’s complaints manager will contact you within five working days on receipt of your request to escalate your complaint and will confirm the details with you. We will then ask the relevant service director to investigate and provide a response in writing within 25 working days.

Make a complaint, comment or compliment about adult social care services

Make an anonymous complaint

You can also raise an anonymous complaint about adult social care services. We will not take any personal details from you and will be unable to respond. 

A team manager will review the anonymous complaint and decide whether they can appropriately conduct an investigation into the issues raised.

If you choose to make your complaint anonymously, please be aware that we cannot respond to you or share any findings from the investigation. If you would like a response to your complaint, you should use not make it anonymously.

Make an anonymous complaint about adult social care services

Further advice

For further information regarding our complaints procedures, please see our customer feedback and complaints handling policy.

You can also contact the local government ombudsman for further advice.

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