CREATE launches Complaints Best Practice Guide resource grounded in the lived experience of young people

At CREATE, we believe that listening and responding to the views of children and young people in out-of-home care systems essential for best practice.

A well-functioning child protection system is underpinned by an independent, transparent, child-and-young-person-friendly, accessible and responsive complaints mechanism.

A common theme in CREATE’s research reports is about how complaints systems are not user friendly, and that children and young people’s feel like their voices aren’t heard or they do not know who or how to make a complaint. In 2019, CREATE’s Voices in Action (ViA) conference brought together young people, carers, service professionals, and decision-makers to learn from each other and workshop key issues to improve the lives for children and young people with a care experience.

Key themes from the workshop were the need for support; alternate communications and methods to make complaints; the right to access information; accessible language; simplify complaints processes; transparency; caseworkers’ training and no repercussions for people who made complaints.

Today CREATE is launching our Child Centred Complaints Handling Best Practice Guide and associated poster resource to assist your organisation with the development and refinement of child-centred complaints processes. 

How organisations and systems receive and responds to complaints is a key element of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. These resources are drawn together from research and the wisdom of lived experience from the children, young people, carers and sector professionals that attended the Voices in Action conference in 2019.

Out Best Practice Guide, broken down into eight key principles, encapsulates the way forward in the sector when it comes to making sure young people in care feel safe, comfortable and heard when voicing their concerns.

The Best Practice Guide and Poster highlight the following key principles of a Good Complaints System:

  1. Use language that is easy to understand and jargon free.
  2. Train staff receiving complaints to respond appropriately and empower children and young people to speak up.
  3. Provide support or access to an independent support person during complaints process
  4. Prioritise complaints, follow up in a timely manner and inform young people when the complaint is finalised.
  5. Promote and display information on how the system works and who to speak with about any issues
  6. Develop simple, user friendly and culturally inclusive complaints processes
  7. Offer multiple options to make complaints and encourage feedback
  8. Ensure safety and no ramifications for those who speak up

You can download the Complaints Best Practice Guide below – be sure to share with your colleagues, peers and workers, and adapt your work to incorporate these practices to assist in improving outcomes for children and young people.

Download the Best Practices Guide

CREATE has developed a Poster Resource to accompany the Best Practises Guide that highlights the key principles of a good complaints system.

Download the Poster Resource

CREATE encourages you to share these resources with your colleagues, peers and workers, and adapt your work to incorporate these practices to assist in improving outcomes for children and young people.

CREATE always welcomes feedback on our resources, you can contact us on 1800 or email