How to contact us for advice

Find out more

Telephone Handler
Close form

Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

Telephone Handler

By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

Family Rights Group
Cover Your Tracks
Generic filters
Exact matches only

Stage three: Review panel

Stage three is the review panel

The person making the complaint (the complainant) can ask for a panel review of the adjudication made at stage two.  If this is requested children’s services must arrange this.

The panel must meet within 30 working days (see regulation 19 of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006).

The role of the panel is explained in government’s Getting the best from complaints 2006 guidance (see paragraphs  3.9-3.11).

The table below provides an easy to follow summary:

To learn what happens at a panel review meeting and what should happen after the meeting, click on the dropdowns below:

What happens at a panel review meeting?

The Getting the best from complaints 2006 statutory guidance explains what should happen at a panel review meeting (see paragraph 3.14 to 3.16 in the Getting the best from complaints 2006 guidance). It says:

  • The complainant must be told of the date and place of the panel review at least 10 days before the meeting
  • The complainant is entitled to see copies of all reports and representations that the panel will be considering
  • A complainant can attend the panel meeting or choose to submit written representations
  • The complainant can bring someone else to the meeting and this person may speak on his behalf
  • The investigating officer and the independent person should attend
  • All persons attending the meeting, including the complainant, should have an opportunity to ask questions or express their opinion.

What happens after the panel review meeting?

The panel must produce a written report with their proposals for resolving the complaint.

They must send this report to the complainant and to children’s services. They must do so within 5 working days (see  regulation 20 of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006. See also  Getting the best from complaints 2006 at paragraph 3.18)

A senior person from children’s services will then review the panel’s proposals. This senior person must consult with the independent person involved at stage 2. They must then write to the person making the complaint to give them a final response. This must be done within 15 days of receiving the panel’s report (see regulation 20(3) of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006).

Children services do not have to follow the panel’s recommendations. But they must have a good reason for not doing so and must set these reasons out in writing to the complainant.

If the complainant is still not happy with the outcome, he can refer his complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman (see regulation 20(3)) and also Getting the best from complaints 2006 at paragraph 3.18.2.

People pie chart

Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

Your donation will help more families access expert legal advice and support from Family Rights Group.

Donate Now