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Complaints about individuals or agencies, should be responded to in accordance with the relevant agency’s complaints handling process.

When a professional or agency has a concern about the action or inaction of another, the Resolving Professional Differences (Escalation) Policy should be followed.

Children, Parents and caregivers are entitled to make representations or complain, in respect of one or more of the following aspects of the functioning of child protection conferences:

  • How the conference was run;
  • The information that was provided which led to the decision being made, e.g. the information was wrong or was missing;
  • The decision of the conference – to either make their child the subject of a Child Protection Plan, or not;
  • The decision of a review conference to continue the Child Protection Plan.

Note: Whilst a complaint is being investigated, the original decision will stand.

The process for complaints regarding Child Protection Conferences has three stages:

  • Stage One – Informal Stage
  • Stage Two – Formal Investigation
  • Stage Three – Complaint Review Panel

Stage One – Informal Stage

If children, parents and caregivers are unhappy with the way in which the conference was run or the outcome, they should, in the first instance, speak with the Conference Chairperson who chaired the meeting. The Chairperson could be contacted either by telephone or writing using contact details on the conference invitation letter. The Chairperson should listen to what is said and will try to resolve the complaint at this initial stage.

If the complaint is about the Chairperson, they can speak with the Chairperson’s immediate line manager by using the same telephone number on the conference invitation letter and be put through to the manager.

If the complaint cannot be resolved at this initial stage the child/ren, parents or caregiver should request that it is considered at stage 2.

Stage Two – Formal Investigation

If children, parents or caregivers remain unhappy with the way the conference was run or its outcome after Stage One, they should contact by writing or telephoning the Deputy Safeguarding Lead for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance (in Peterborough) or Service Manager for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance (in Cambridgeshire) who will make arrangements for the complaint to be investigated and a response will be provided within 20 working days (4 weeks). The Stage Two investigating manager will be one who had no prior involvement in the Stage One informal investigation. If the investigating manager agrees with the complaint, they may decide that a conference is reconvened. The new conference may come to a different decision, or it may repeat the earlier decision. The decision of the reconvened conference will be final.

Stage Three – Review Panel

If the child/ren, parent or caregiver remains unhappy with the outcome of the Stage Two Investigation, they should make contact by writing to, or telephoning the Assistant Director Safeguarding and Quality Assurance who will consult with the Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Children Board and determine how the complaint will be further investigated, either by the Assistant Director for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance, or for more complex cases, consideration will be given to establish a Review Panel. Such a panel will be made up of a senior manager from each of the three safeguarding partners – Children’s Services, Health and Police.

The Assistant Director / Review Panel will consider whether the relevant safeguarding procedures have been followed correctly, and whether the issue that is being complained about is reasonable in the circumstances.

The Assistant Director / lead member of the Review Panel will write to the child/ren, parents or caregiver within 28 days to confirm the outcome of the review. As at Stage Two, if they believe the conference came to the wrong decision, they may also decide that the conference should be reconvened, if it has not already happened during Stage Two. Again, the decision of the reconvened conference will be final.