Making a complaint about SEND services
We will always aim to resolve any concerns raised by parents/carers or young people and would encourage you to speak to the service you are working with to discuss any issues. However, if you feel that the quality or standard of service provided to you has fallen short and you wish to raise a complaint this guide will help to explain the process.
In most cases you will need to complain to us within 12 months of becoming aware of the matter, as it becomes increasingly difficult to investigate events fairly and fully as time passes.
To make a complaint you can use the online form on our website.
Alternatively, you can contact our Customer Relations Team.
Telephone: 0300 300 4995
If your complaint relates to a looked after child, a child in need or a care leaver it may need to follow a specific complaints procedure as required by The Children’s Act.
What will happen to my complaint?
There are several ways in which we may respond to your complaint. Any of following options may apply depending on the nature of your complaint:
- wherever possible, your complaint will be resolved informally within one working day by agreement between you and the service involved
- we may organise for you to attend a meeting with the manager of the service involved to try and resolve the complaint through discussion and mutual agreement. A written summary of the meeting and any agreed outcomes will be sent to you following this meeting
- the manager of the service involved may investigate your complaint and send you a written response explaining their findings and any actions they will take to remedy the situation
- depending on the seriousness of your complaint it may require investigation from someone outside of the service that you have complained about. The investigator will prepare a written report for a senior manager of the service, who will then make a decision about any action that needs to be taken. The senior manager will respond to you in writing to explain this to you
Where possible we will contact you to discuss your concerns and seek your views on the most appropriate option to manage your particular complaint. This will include agreeing the timescale needed for the complaints procedure. If we are unable to contact you, you will still receive a written acknowledgement confirming these details. All complaints should be acknowledged by us, either verbally or in writing, within 3 working days of receipt.
If you disagree with the proposed option for handling of your complaint, you can contact the Customer Relations Team to discuss this. A final decision will then be made about which approach is most appropriate depending on the nature of your complaint.
After you receive the outcome to your complaint, you can still contact the Customer Relations Team if you remain unhappy. We may be able to consider your complaint further using the options above. However, if we are of the view that there is no further action that can be taken to remedy your complaint, you will be advised in writing of your right to contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).
Independent advice and advocacy
An advocate is someone who can help you to make a complaint and ensure that your views are heard. There are various types of independent advocacy services available, depending on your needs.
Find out more about Independent advocacy on Central Bedfordshire Council's website.
For advice, support or information about Special Educational Needs in Central Bedfordshire you can contact SENDIASS.
You may also wish to share your complaint with SNAP Central Bedfordshire Parent Carer Forum, who work to improve services for children and young people with special educational needs living in Central Bedfordshire.
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
If you are not happy with how your complaint has been handled by us or disagree with the final decision made, you have the right to contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).
The LGSCO can look at individual complaints about councils. They are a free service and investigate complaints in a fair and independent way.
Telephone: 0300 061 0614