The Board gave consideration to an update on the Council’s performance related to enquiries received from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
The Council dealt with complaints about services provided according to the requirement of legislation as outlined in the report. These complaint procedures had the Ombudsman as the last stage in the process. The Ombudsman’s Role was to enquire into cases where the Council and the complainant did not agree after the Local Authority’s complaints procedure had been exhausted and the complainant wanted the case to be reviewed.
The report highlighted the number of case reviews undertaken at national level in 2018/19. In addition to the Annual Review of Complaints, the LGO also wrote to each Local Authority’s Chief Executive every year to set out the Council’s annual performance on complaints. The LGO was clear that the number of complaints taken in isolation was not necessarily an indicator of the Local Authority’s performance.
The report outlined the regional perspective across Greater Manchester. In 2018/19 the Council had 80 cases reviewed by the LGO of which only 17.5% were investigated and 12.5% upheld. The Council’s overall aim was to reduced the percentage of cases that were upheld by the LGO and to learn and improve services as a result of those upheld decisions. The low number of cases reviewed by the LGO, and ultimately investigated, suggested that the Council was willing to take responsibility when things went wrong and work with residents to resolve the issue appropriately.
The Council was undertaking a root and branch review of the Complaints Service. This included the consideration of an option for integration of Health and Social Care Complaints, reviewing all policies and procedures, improving timescales for resolution and place a stronger emphasis on service development and improvement following complaints.
Members queried how the figures compared to the previous year. Information would be circulated separately.
Members asked if there was any pattern in the areas of complaint. Members were informed that complaints related to social care could be complex and include liaison with partners where others could be quick. The Ombudsman was keen to investigate cases across the board to look toward positive outcomes. The Council agreed with this approach and were doing the same thing. There was a good relationship with services.
Members sought and received clarification that the root and branch review should be completed by April 2020. Integration of health and social care complaints would be given consideration. The database would be reviewed as well as policy and procedures.
The next annual review letter would be received at the same time next year. Members requested an update in 12 months time and that the report also provide the outcome of the review. The report would also include information on compliments to provide a balanced overview.
1. The Local Government Ombudsman Annual Review for 2018/19 be noted.
2. Information related to the figures from the previous year be circulated to Overview and Scrutiny Board members.
3. An update be received in 12 months-time and included information related to the outcome of the review.