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Making a complaint


Our setting believes that children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt, careful attention to their needs and wishes. We welcome suggestions on how to improve our setting and will give prompt and serious attention to any concerns about the running of the setting. We anticipate that most concerns will be resolved quickly by an informal approach to the appropriate member of staff. There is a fair way of dealing with issues as they arise in an informal way, but parents may wish to exercise their right to make a formal complaint. In the event of this, we have a set of procedures for dealing with concerns. We aim to bring all concerns about the running of our setting to a satisfactory conclusion for all of the parties involved.




All settings are required to keep a 'summary log' of all complaints that reach stage two or beyond. This is to be made available to parents as well as to Ofsted inspectors.

A full procedure is set out in the Complaint Investigation Record (Pre-school Learning Alliance 2015) which acts as the 'summary log' for this purpose.


Making a complaint

If a parent is unhappy about any aspect of their child’s care or how he/she feels he/she has been treated, this should be discussed with the child’s key person. The key person will listen to the parent and acknowledge what he/she is unhappy about. The key person will offer an explanation and an apology if appropriate.

If the parent is not happy with the key person’s response or wishes to complain about the key person or any other member of staff, the stages below will apply.


A parent who has a concern about an aspect of the setting's overall provision should discuss this with the setting manager from the outset.


Stage 1

The complaint is discussed with the setting manager. Some parents may want to initially do so in written form, for example by email, others will prefer to share concerns verbally, in which case the setting manager writes down the main issues to be followed up.

  • Most complaints should be resolved amicably and informally at this stage.

Stage 2

  • If this does not have a satisfactory outcome, or if the problem recurs, the parent moves to this stage of the procedure by putting the concerns or complaint formally in writing to the setting leader or chair of the management committee.

  • For parents who are not comfortable with making written complaints, there is a template form for recording complaints in the above-mentioned publication; the form may be completed with the person in charge and signed by the parent.

  • The setting stores written complaints from parents in the child's personal file. However, if the complaint involves a detailed investigation, the setting leader may wish to store all information relating to the investigation in a separate file designated for this complaint.

  • When the investigation into the complaint is completed, the setting leader or manager meets with the parent to discuss the outcome.

  • Parents must be informed of the outcome of the investigation within 28 days of making the complaint.

  • When the complaint is resolved at this stage, the summative points are logged in the Complaints Summary Record.

Stage 3

  • If the parent is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, he or she requests a meeting with the setting leader/chair of the management committee. The parent should have a friend or partner present if required and the leader should have the support of the chairperson of the management committee, present.

  • An agreed written record of the discussion is made as well as any decision or action to take as a result. All of the parties present at the meeting sign the record and receive a copy of it.

  • This signed record signifies that the procedure has concluded. When the complaint is resolved at this stage, the summative points are logged in the Complaints Summary Record.

Stage 4

  • If at the stage three meeting the parent and setting cannot reach agreement, an external mediator is invited to help to settle the complaint. This person should be acceptable to both parties, listen to both sides and offer advice.A mediator has no legal powers but can help to define the problem, review the action so far and suggest further ways in which it might be resolved.

  • Staff or volunteers within the Early Years Alliance are appropriate persons to be invited to act as mediators.

  • The mediator keeps all discussions confidential. She/he can hold separate meetings with the setting personnel (setting leader and chair of the management committee) and the parent, if this is decided to be helpful. The mediator keeps an agreed written record of any meetings that are held and of any advice she/he gives.

Stage 5

  • When the mediator has concluded her/his investigations, a final meeting between the parent, the setting leader and the chair of the management committee is held. The purpose of this meeting is to reach a decision on the action to be taken to deal with the complaint. The mediator's advice is used to reach this conclusion. The mediator is present at the meeting if all parties think this will help a decision to be reached.

  • A record of this meeting, including the decision on the action to be taken, is made.Everyone present at the meeting signs the record and receives a copy of it.This signed record signifies that the procedure has concluded.


The role of the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), local safeguarding partners and the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Parents may approach Ofsted directly at any stage of this complaints procedure. In addition, where there seems to be a possible breach of the setting's registration requirements, it is essential to involve Ofsted as the registering and inspection body with a duty to ensure the Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage are adhered to. The manager will assist in any complaint investigation as well as in producing documentation that records the steps that were taken in response to the original complaint.


  • The number to call Ofsted with regard to a complaint is:

0300 123 1231

or in writing to:

Applications, Regulatory and Contact (ARC) Team, Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD

  • These details are displayed on our setting's notice board.

  • If a child appears to be at risk, our setting follows the procedures of in our local authority.

  • In these cases, both the parent and setting are informed, and the setting leader works with Ofsted or o ensure a proper investigation of the complaint, followed by appropriate action.

  • The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can be contacted if you have made a complaint about the way your data is being handled and remain dissatisfied after raising your concern with us. For further information about how we handle your data, please refer to the Privacy Notice given to you when you registered your child at our setting. The ICO can be contacted at Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF or


  • If an individual from another agency wishes to make a formal complaint about a member of staff or any practice of the setting, it should be made in writing to the setting manager.

  • The complaint is acknowledged in writing within 10 days of receiving it.

  • The setting manager investigates the matter and meets with the individual to discuss the matter further within 28 days of the complaint being received.

  • An agreement needs to be reached to resolve the matter.

  • If agreement is not reached, the complainant may write to the setting manager’s line manager, who acknowledges the complaint within 5 days and reports back within 14 days.

  • If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, they are entitled to appeal and are referred to the trustees.




  • A record of complaints against our setting and/or the children and/or the adults working in our setting is kept, including the date, the circumstances of the complaint and how the complaint was managed.

  • The outcome of all complaints is recorded in the Summary Complaints Record which is available for parents and Ofsted inspectors on request.

  • A record of complaints will be kept for at least 3 years.

  • In all cases where a complaint is upheld a review will be undertaken by the trustees to look for ways to improve practice where it is required.


Policy Agreed June 2022

Review Date June 2024

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