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When to complain to an employer

Check if we need to be involved

If your concern is not about a social worker’s fitness to practise, you should raise it with their employer directly. 

To help you understand what we mean by 'fitness to practise' you may find it helpful to read our professional standards. The standards set out the requirements that we expect social workers to meet to be 'fit to practise'. 

Concerns that are not about a social worker's fitness to practise cannot be considered by us and are best dealt with by the social worker's employer, for example:

  • being late for appointments

  • being rude

  • not responding in a timely way

  • making a decision that you are unhappy with

You can read more about concerns we are not able to investigate

We might refer concerns raised with us to the social worker’s employer at the triage stage and ask them to investigate before we decide whether we need to take any further action.

The social worker’s employer should be able to deal with and resolve some issues more quickly and effectively. They should also be able to help you decide if we need to be involved.

You don’t have to make a complaint to the social worker’s employer before raising a concern with us. If your concern is serious, it is important that you tell us about it as soon as possible.

You can reads more about serious concerns that we need to know about

If you need help deciding whether to raise a concern with us, you can contact us on 0808 196 2274 or [email protected].

Get help complaining to a social worker's place of work

To make a complaint to the social worker's place of work, you will need to contact the employer and ask for details of how to make a complaint.

The social worker's employer will have a complaints procedure in place and should be able to provide you with details of what information to include with your complaint.

If you’re unhappy with an employer’s investigation

The employer should have a second stage complaints process. You may be able to find information about this process on their website.

If you are still unhappy after following their second stage complaints process, you may want to raise your concerns with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.


Last updated: 28 November 2019

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