Lee Henley provided Members with a high level summary of the report on the operation of the Adult Social Care complaints procedure covering the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. This report was a statutory requirement to produce an annual complaints report on Adult Social Care complaints and set out the number of representations received in the year, key issues arising from complaints and the learning activity for the department.
Councillor Ralph thanked Lee Henley for the very positive report and noted that during this period which could have been disastrous due to COVID, it had demonstrated that we cared about adult social care. Councillor Ralph also noted that it was good to see there were no ombudsman complaints within the period and that extreme positives could be taken away from this.
Councillor Fish referred to Complaint 13 of the report and questioned whether this type of training formed part of the induction or initial training. Lee Henley stated this was a complaint from the commission providers and the response would be in terms of a learning activity. Lee Henley provided Members with further information on this complaint that the Deputy Manager of the care home had spoken to the service user’s family, the complaint had been discussed and had transpired the complaint was around the lack of communication and not the spilling of the hot drink.
Councillor Polley noted that the number of compliments had also increased and that compliments had been received for the Local Area Co-ordinators and their teams from those who had worked on the Morrison’s Food Bank and Friends of Essex and London Homeless projects. Councillor Polley also gave praise to work undertaken by Thurrock First who had provided the solutions to the problems.
Councillor Holloway agreed it was positive that the number of complaints was not extremely high and as it had already been noted the issues of those complaints were being looked into. Councillor Holloway stated the report had been quite upsetting to read and quite worrying around the quality of care and the conduct of some staff. Councillor Holloway questioned whether retraining was an option and how many chances would staff get to retrain and whether there was any kind of dismissal levels. Lee Henley stated he was unable to answer this in his role and asked Ian Wake to respond. Ian Wake provided members with some context that only 16 complaints had been upheld over a year against the thousands of care interactions that happened every day with hundreds of service users and there had been four times as many compliments as complaints. Ian Wake stated he had spent some time going out to speak with front line staff who had been amazing, putting their lives at risk over the last 14 months. That training was good in challenging circumstances but unfortunately this sometimes did go wrong but there was a strong compliance regime in place, CQC inspections and a really good relationship with providers. That 16 complaints was still too many with the aim always to be zero but was confident that everything was being done systemically to try and keep mistakes from happening. Councillor Holloway agreed and the work of the teams should be commended.
That the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered and noted the report.
Lee Henley left the meeting at 7.47pm.