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Feedback and complaints

Feedback and complaints about Social Work England

We are committed to providing the best service we can in all the interactions we have with all those who use our services.

We want those who use our services to tell us when things have gone wrong, or where we could have done better. If people have had positive experiences with us or want to thank members of our team then we want to hear about those too.

Your feedback, including complaints, will help us to learn from our mistakes and from what we’ve done well to improve the quality of our services.

Please note, if your complaint is about a social worker you need to complete the online concern form instead. Raising a concern about a social worker means giving us information about something a social worker did, or information about the social worker themselves. 

Raise a concern about a social worker.

What is a complaint?

If you tell us that you are unhappy with a service we have provided either verbally or in writing, this will be treated as a complaint.

Our fitness to practise, registration and education quality assurance processes involve us, or independent decision makers, making decisions. We are unable to consider complaints solely about these decisions through the corporate feedback and complaints process. You should raise any concerns you have about these decisions with the team responsible who will be able to explain any alternative mechanisms in place to address your concerns.

If your complaint is about:

  • a request for information under the Data Protection Act 2018 or Freedom of Information Act 2000, you can find information here

  • a social worker, you can find more information about how these are managed through the fitness to practise processes

  • an approved course of study, you can find more information about our education quality assurance process, including how to raise a concern about a course

Making a complaint

We would encourage you to contact the person you’ve been dealing with at Social Work England and tell them about your issue first. They will likely be able to help resolve this for you.

If you are unable to do this, or if you tried this and it was not successful you can let our internal quality and improvement team know. They will manage your complaint through our corporate feedback and complaints procedure.

The corporate complaints process can consider complaints about:

  • the actions of our staff, partners or suppliers

  • a service we’ve provided which was unsatisfactory, or where we’ve not followed our own procedures

  • the way we have communicated with you

We are committed to ensuring our services are accessible. If you are unable to complete the corporate feedback and complaint form and need us to make reasonable adjustments in order for you to provide feedback or make a complaint, please email [email protected] or call us on 0808 196 2274.

How we will handle your complaint

When you submit a corporate complaint to the internal quality and improvement team, we:

  • will acknowledge your complaint within three working days

  • may also request any additional information we need at this stage in order to better understand your complaint

  • will review your complaint and assign it to the appropriate person to investigate and respond

  • will provide you with a written explanation of our decision and the reasons for it, and what has been done to make things right

  • will apologise and accept responsibility when we have got things wrong

  • will normally provide a response within 20 working days of receiving your complaint (or after receiving any additional information we needed to request from you).

  • will let you know if we need to adjust any of our timescales, and explain why

  • will make sure that your confidentiality is appropriately protected

You can find out more about how we use, store and protect the information you provide to us through the corporate feedback and complaints process by reading our privacy notice.

What to do if you are not happy with the outcome

If you are not happy with our response to your complaint, you can contact the internal quality and improvement team to request a review. This review will be undertaken by a member of our executive leadership team.

A member of the executive leadership team will review your complaint, the investigation undertaken at stage one, and the response previously provided to you. They will then write to you giving you their final decision and their reasons. This will usually be sent to you within 20 working days. If we need to adjust this timescale, we will let you know and explain why.

If you remain dissatisfied following the review of your complaint, there are no further mechanisms in place as part of our corporate complaints process.

The Professional Standards Authority is an independent organisation whose role is to help to protect the public by improving the regulation and registration of people who work in health and care. They oversee the work of ten organisations that regulate health and care professionals in the UK, including Social Work England. They are not a complaint handling body and cannot investigate complaints about the organisations they oversee, but they welcome hearing from individuals about their experience of the regulators and will consider the feedback they receive through their performance review process.

You can find more information and share your experience of Social Work England on their website.

What you can expect of us

When you provide feedback or make a complaint we will:

  • treat you with respect

  • listen to you and learn from what you tell us

  • communicate with you clearly

What we expect of you

We ask that you are polite and respectful when communicating with us.

If we consider your behaviour to be unacceptable, we will let you know what we consider unacceptable and ask you to stop. If this continues, we may take action or restrict your contact with us.

Submit feedback


Last updated: 9 April 2020