Agenda item

Comments, Compliments & Complaints


That the report be noted.



The Director of Community Services introduced a report on the compliments, representations and complaints received by Adult and Children’s Social Services for the year April 2013 to March 2014.  He provided background information and explained that feedback in the form of compliments and complaints from service users and their parents or carers was valuable in identifying where services were working well or needed changing.  He advised that the annual report contained information about the number and type of complaints received and details of the activities undertaken by the Complaints Officer to develop the service.


                        The Director invited the Senior Manager Commissioning and Head of Children’s Services to give an overview of the complaints and compliments received in relation to Adult Social Services and Children’s Social Services.


The Senior Manager Commissioning advised that there had been a small increase in the number of complaints received since last year but this should be considered in the context of the number of service users receiving a service.  He referred to the methods used to resolve a complaint, timescales, and outcomes/lessons learned.  The Senior Manager reported that overall there had been a rise in the number of compliments received for Adult Social Services in 2013-14 compared to the previous year.   He explained that compliments had been received in a number of ways in recognition of when staff had done “over and above” what had been expected by service users and their families.


                        The Head of Children’s Social Services reported that there had been an increase in complaints in relation to Children’s Social Services compared to previous years, however, this was against a significant increase in the number of referrals received during the year.  She explained that the increase in complaints received year on year reflected the proactive way in which information about making a complaint was shared with children, young people and their families and was also partly attributable, where the service was involved in Court proceedings with families, to the withdrawal of Legal Aid across England and Wales.  She also commented on the North Wales Complaints Officers Group and advised that the Welsh Government was in the process of revising the Regulations for the Social Services complaints procedure.   


                        The Head of Children’s Social Services referred to the number of compliments received during 2013/14 which had increased overall on previous years.  The compliments had been  received in the form of cards and letters or praise expressed during Court proceedings.


                        The Chair thanked the Senior Manager Commissioning and Head of Children’s Services for their presentations and invited Members to raise questions.


                        Councillor Hilary McGuill referred to the summary of complaints across Adults and Children’s service areas which were attached to the report and commented that she felt they did not provide enough detail.  She also commented on the significant fall recorded in the number of compliments received in relation to Resources.  The Head of Children’s Services responded to the queries raised and said “lessons had been learned” from complaints made to ensure that the issues concerned did not arise again and that procedures were changed.     She reported that responses from the User Surveys which had been sent out indicated that the majority of service users and their families and carers were complimentary about the service they received. 


                        Commenting on the matter of compliments the Chair suggested that the number of cards, letters and emails from service users or their families should also be included when recording the number of compliments received for Children’s Social Services.


During discussion Members reiterated the views expressed by Councillor McGuill that more detail was required concerning the nature of the complaints made against Adult and Children’s Social Services. 


Councillor Dave Mackie suggested that when a complaint was not addressed within the prescribed timescales  feedback should be obtained from the complainant to seek their views on how their concerns had been handled.  He also referred to the timescales for responding to complaints and asked if figures could be provided to compare the Authority’s performance with the national average.  The Senior Manager Commissioning and Performance advised that no national comparative data was currently available. 




That the report be noted.


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