Agenda item

Annual Complaints and Compliments Report.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Children and Family Services providing a summary of the Children’s Social Care statutory complaints and compliments annual report for 2017/18.  A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 10’ is filed with these minutes.


Arising from the discussion, the following comments were noted:


i)             In terms of monitoring improvements, it was stated that where fault had been found, actions would be followed up to see whether anything could have been done differently.  Where there were wider themes arising from the complaint, these were fed through to the department to consider.  Improvements were still needed in following up the wider actions.


ii)            A number of improvements had been made as a result of the work arising from the outcomes of the Ofsted inspection, but there was concern than this report did not appear to fully reflect these.  It was stated that one issue had been the high turnover of staff during the period and the high level of agency staff used.  A large difference from previous years was the level of activity in the department, particularly around single assessments.  It was felt that the report was a reflection of the current position of the department and it was anticipated that when the next update report on the Ofsted improvement process was presented, there would be further evidence of progress.


iii)           The department had a number of performance indicators to measure the performance around the recording of information.  There had been a significant increase in the number of single assessments, which had led to a better recording of information.  The MOSAIC computer system had also led to some improvements, and this had been designed to work in the First Response team so that it was easier to record information onto the system.


iv)           It was suggested that it would be helpful to look at the number of cases being considered by each service area and the percentage of these which actually resulted in a complaint, as this would provide a year on year example of whether the number of complaints was increasing.  There was departmental sharing of the complaints system, and where fault had been found, this was shared with all service managers.


v)            In relation to a query around the ownership of complaints, monthly management meetings took place with child care managers to discuss a range of indicators relating to timeliness.  As a result, managers were fully aware of the targets and these were monitored on a team by team basis.  Managers were aware of the need to respond to things proportionately, and this included how to complete assessments and visits as well as complaints.  A named manager was allocated to a complaint and took ownership of the issue until it had been resolved.  A senior manager from the department was aware of the issue and a complaints handler was also assigned to the case to ensure any actions were followed up.  It was stated that a previous issue had been that managers had dealt with Stage 1 complaints without formally recording them anywhere, but this had now been rectified.


vi)           The Committee had previously received reports on the recruitment and retention of staff within the department, and it was suggested that a further update be presented.  Currently, there were 43 agency staff in children’s social care and this had been relatively consistent since the Ofsted inspection.  There had been difficulty in recruiting permanent staff, but this reflected the national picture.  Over the next two months, 31.5 new social workers would be commencing, the majority of whom were newly qualified.  As a result, these would require additional support, and it would therefore be necessary to retain a number of the agency staff for longer than anticipated.  It was felt that the department’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy was now starting to have an impact.


vii)         It was noted that better reporting was now having an impact on the increase in complaints around child protection.


The Lead Member for Children and Family Services expressed concern over the turnover of staff within the department, and the fact that all new staff had to be trained in Signs of Safety.  However, he was happy with the current position within the department and felt that improvements were being made.




(a)  That the report be noted;


(b)  That the Committee receives an update on progress with the recording of complaints in six months’ time;


(c)  That the Committee receives an update on Recruitment and Retention at its meeting on 22 January 2019.

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