Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Corporate Director, Social Services and Wellbeing presented a report seeking Cabinet approval of the revised Social Services Complaints Policy (Appendix 1 to the report). The policy had been developed in accordance with legislation and statutory guidance around social services complaints.
The Corporate Director, Social Services and Wellbeing explained that it clarified the relationship between the Social Services Complaints Policy and the procedures which underpinned it and other processes and procedures that were operated by the Council. She added that Cabinet received an Annual Social Services Complaints report which set out performance around complaints and lessons learned from issues and representations raised.
The Deputy Leader explained that as part of the CIW inspection, they had to ensure that all policies were up to date and being managed appropriately and therefore these policies would be submitted to Cabinet regularly going forward.
The Cabinet Member for Regeneration asked why there was a separate policy for social services and why this area did not come under the Corporate Policy.
The Corporate Director, Social Services and Wellbeing explained BCBC was required to have a specific Social Services Complaints Policy because of the legislation and associated statutory guidance, as set out in detail within the covering report. She assured Cabinet that the two policies complemented each other in terms of the way that they worked, to ensure a representation or complaint was managed under the correct process.
The Deputy Leader stressed that they could not do anything with a complaint in social services if there were legal proceedings ongoing. They should make it clear, as Members, that they were following guidance and adhering to the Ombudsman and legal advice when doing this.
The Cabinet Member for Future Generations asked how this policy interacted with the Vexatious Policy. The Corporate Director, Social Services and Wellbeing explained that this helped to highlight the zero tolerance of this Council in terms of abuse, around any member of staff. The policy framework in BCBC had policies which complemented each other and worked well alongside each other. The Complaints Officer was a statutory role and he/she would be very skilled at working with individuals to take some time to properly and rightly investigate a complaint. On occasion there would be matters which were vexatious and would constitute abuse of members of staff which had to be managed through the Vexatious Policy.
The Leader stressed that the authority would not tolerate abuse, aggression or violence towards staff and would not hesitate to contact and work with South Wales Police if required, to protect staff.
RESOLVED: Cabinet approved the revised Social Services Complaints
Policy attached as Appendix 1 to the report.
Publication date: 23/05/2023
Date of decision: 11/04/2023
Decided at meeting: 11/04/2023 - Cabinet