Complaints Review Committee - 02/03/2012
At a MEETING of the COMPLAINTS REVIEW COMMITTEE held at Dundee on 2nd March, 2012.
Mr Thomas W TAIT
Councillor Jim BARRIE
Bailie Helen WRIGHT
Mr Thomas TAIT, Chairperson, in the Chair.
Unless marked thus * all items stand delegated.
The Committee resolved under Section 50(A)(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the undernoted items of business on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3, 5 and 7 of Part I of Schedule 7A of the Act.
I CASE NO DCC 1/2012
The Committee considered a complaint which had been made by an agent on behalf of the Complainant requesting a review in relation to the actions taken by the Social Work Department. The Committee gave consideration to written submissions on behalf of the Complainant and on behalf of the Social Work Department including correspondence, copies of which had been circulated.
The Committee also heard oral representations by the Complainant, an agent on behalf of the Complainant, the Complainant, and a representative of the Social Work Department.
It was reported that the Complainant had made three specific complaints which had previously been fully investigated.
Having considered the complaints, reviewed the correspondence and written submissions before them and having regard to the oral representations, the Complaints Review Committee agreed as follows:-
(i) To recommend to the Social Work and Health Committee of Dundee City Council that, in future, the Social Work Department explained in reports to the Children's Hearing or to Court whenever there was conflicting expert medical opinion and did not just refer to and rely on one particular report; further to recommend that there be a remit to the Director of Social Work to instigate an optional procedure that considered the commissioning of further expert opinion, to be paid for by the Social Work Department, whenever there were conflicting views between experts with such further expert opinion being commissioned to try to address the particular matters in conflict. Such procedure should only be considered after the Social Work Department had ensured that there was an opportunity for a party to present any conflicting expert opinion and that party had been informed of any views that the Social Work Department had of such opinion;
(ii) To note the findings of the investigation carried out by the Social Work Department through its complaints procedure and the submission made on behalf of the Complainer;
(iii) On the basis of the evidence submitted to the Committee, it was the opinion of the Committee that it was more likely that the Complainer had been suffering from post natal depression after the births of her children, as was diagnosed and referred to in reports subsequent to the initial assessment by the Doctor, rather than a personality disorder. Ultimately, it could only be for an appropriately qualified person to support the assertion that was sought. Unless the Doctor's opinions were retracted, they remained as evidence although they had been refuted; and
(iv) On the basis of the evidence submitted to Committee, the Social Work Department no longer considered that the Complainer was of sufficient risk to have contact with her children supervised. It appeared that the Social Work Department were satisfied that the Complainer did not present a risk to her children as far as the Social Work Department could establish. The Committee appreciated that with any person who historically had been labelled to be a risk as a result of medical opinion, then some interpretation that there was a risk may remain unless the medical opinion was retracted or entirely discredited by other medical professionals.
Thomas TAIT, Chairperson.