Dudley’s children’s social care services see a drop in complaints

COMPLAINTS against Dudley’s children’s social care services dropped by six per cent lat year. Figures show 104 complaints were received in the 12 months ending March 2011 from 95 different young people or their representatives compared to 111 during the previous year.

In the same period children’s social care received 3,763 new referrals and worked with a total of 5,574 cases. Complaints related to just 1.8 per cent of the cases.

A further 45 informal complaints were made compared to 42 in 2009/10.

Most complaints centred on inadequate services, including concerns about frequent changes of worker resulting in a lack of consistency and progress, the level of contact and quality of work from an allocated worker, punctuality of support workers and complaints about the quality of contact arrangements.

Other complaints included concerns about staff attitudes, poor or inaccurate communication and delays.

One racial discrimination complaint made by a boy in a residential home against another boy resulted in the abuser being moved to another placement.

Of those complaints that were dealt with internally, 39 were upheld to some extent, compared to 33 that were not upheld. Others were resolved or withdrawn without the need for investigation.

Two complaints requiring independent investigation have been completed.

The annual report for complaints, comments and compliments said training and raising awareness in dealing with complaints was continuing.

It said there was also an emphasis on sharing lessons learned across the directorate, regular meetings between the complaints service and the assistant director for children’s specialist services and continued monitoring of timescales and response by managers to raise standards.

Compliments also fell in 2010/11 to 56 from 83 the previous year, but the report suggested staff were failing to register them.