What to do if you want to make a complaint…

Sometimes, people are unhappy about the service they have received at a child contact centre. This is something that is regrettable, however, it is often quick and easy to seek resolution.

Whilst a centre can create its own basic structure for the handling of complaints, this will usually contain at least the following basic elements.

Where a complainant is unhappy they should share their concerns verbally with a staff member at the centre.  Often the complaint will be concluded at this point. 

Stage 1. The complainant remains unsatisfied. Complaint put in writing to the person managing the service unless the complaint is about this person, where the procedure will name another person for this complaint to be addressed too. This person should be able to act without bias, demonstrating impartiality. Upon receipt of the written complaint. The person managing the process will respond to the complainant (formally) within 5 working days to confirm receipt and to outline the process moving forward. The complaint will be investigated, in a way outlined by the centre and the complainant will be formally informed of the outcome. This response will inform the complainant of their options should they remain unsatisfied. 

Stage 2. The complainant remains unhappy. Within specified timescales, they will outline the basis of their complaint and the reasons for their displeasure with the process to an impartial person, named in the policy, not already involved in the complaint. This might be a Trustee, Director, Manager, and so on. Within timescales set out by the policy and upon receipt of the written complaint. The person managing the process will respond to the complainant (formally) to confirm receipt and to outline the process moving forward. The complaint will be investigated, in a way outlined by the centre and the complainant will be formally informed of the outcome. This response will inform the complainant of their options should they remain unsatisfied. 

Stage 3. Where the complainant remains unhappy. They will notify the person who lead stage 2 in writing. This will take place within timescales specified within the complaint’s procedure of the contact service.

The complainant will usually be invited to attend a meeting with an impartial panel (the make-up of this will be defined within the policy of the contact service) to discuss the complaint. The panel will consider all previous information and may wish to speak to staff/volunteers involved. A written decision will be sent to the complainant within timescales outlined within the policy. The decision taken at this stage is final.

If the complainant remains unhappy, and all of the above (equivalent) stages above are complete, the complainant may complete the form and submit this to contact@naccc.org.uk.

Our complaints officer will then review the content of this and reach a conclusion about whether the centre followed its procedure. NACCC will not review evidence relating to complaints and will not make a conclusion about any outcomes reached.

Alternatively, you might also choose to complain to the organisation that made the referral to that service (Cafcass or Children’s Services). If you have legal advice you might also want to seek advice if you are unhappy with the service received.

Important Point

As a membership organisation NACCC has no responsibility for the staffing or day-to-day running of member centres; however, we do advise, support and accredit centres and require member centres to work to the highest standards.  Therefore, we are unable to investigate individual complaints, but we do have a role in investigating how complaints are handled at centres.

Complaints form can be located here.