Agenda item

Children's Services Annual Complaints & Feedback Report

This report informs the Panel about the number and type of complaints and representations, including compliments, received between April 2019 and March 2020 by Children’s Services.


The Complaints & Data Protection Team Manager introduced this item. She explained that the report informs the Panel about the number and type of complaints and representations, including compliments, received between April 2019 and March 2020 by Children’s Services.


She stated that the number of complaints to each team remains relatively consistent with the exception of the Duty Team which saw a significant increase in the number of complaints during 2019 – 20. She added that analysis of the complaints received each month has been carried out to determine whether the increase correlates to any issues with service delivery; however, there is no immediate explanation.


She informed the Panel that the primary purpose of the complaints procedure is to give the service the opportunity to put things right for the individual complainant when they have gone wrong. She added that the statutory guidance also states that:


All local authorities should provide a system for:


o The dissemination of learning from complaints to line managers;


o  The use of complaints procedure as a measure of performance and

means of quality control; and


o Information derived from complaints to contribute to practice development, commissioning and service planning.


She said that to achieve this there are systems in place to collate and then disseminate information gathered at the conclusion of each stage of the procedure.


She stated that a total of 92 complaints about Children’s Services were recorded under the Children’s Social Care statutory complaints procedure or the Council’s Corporate Complaints Procedure and 6 enquiries were received from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.


She said that the total number of complaints received across the service had decreased during 2019 - 20; however, the distribution of complaints across the three stages and referrals to the Ombudsman remain consistent and the percentage of complaints which are escalated to Stage 2 remains very similar.


She added that in 2018 – 19, 9% of Stage 1 complaints were escalated to Stage 2, in 2019 – 20, this figure was 7%.


She explained that the Local Government Ombudsman (LGSCO) considered 6 complaints during 2019 – 20. The Council was required to respond to the Ombudsman’s enquiries on two of these complaints. One complaint was upheld. The Ombudsman closed three complainants without any further investigation and the complainants did not pursue the final complaint.


She informed the Panel that a total of 53 compliments were recorded during the year from children, young people and their families and colleagues

working in partner agencies. This is a significant increase from the previous

year when 36 compliments were recorded. This is possibly due to the

Celebration Newsletter that has been introduced in Children’s Social Care

which celebrates positive feedback and encourages staff to share the

feedback they receive. She added that compliments reflect good practice and provide valuable information which can be considered alongside complaints to help establish where the strengths and weaknesses of the service are.


The Chairman said that the service should be commended for the number of compliments received. He added that he was a little concerned that a high proportion of complaints related to the attitude or behaviour of staff and asked for attention to be given on this over the coming year.


The Complaints & Data Protection Team Manager replied that work was underway to address this and to establish where possible if there has been an incident or whether it is a complaint about the message that is being given.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if comparable data with other Local Authorities could be within the report for next year.


The Complaints & Data Protection Team Manager replied that no performance indicators are required for Children’s Services, but they were looking to set some local benchmarking figures and will endeavour to include that information in the report next year.


Councillor Paul May commented that he was assured by the report that the system was working and commended the officers involved.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the contents of the report.

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