Complaints Review Committee - 29/07/2014
At a MEETING of the COMPLAINTS REVIEW COMMITTEE held at Dundee on 29th July, 2014.
Mr Thomas TAIT
Councillor Vari McDONALD
Councillor Georgia CRUICKSHANK
Mr Thomas TAIT, Chairperson, in the Chair.
Unless marked thus * all items stand delegated.
I CHAIRPERSON - APPOINTMENT
It was reported that in accordance with the Council's Scheme of Delegation to Officers, the Chief Executive had appointed Mr Thomas Tait, Chairperson of the Complaints Review Committee.
The Committee noted accordingly.
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.
II DECLARATION OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest.
III CASE NO DCC 2/2014
The Committee considered a complaint comprising three areas of complaint which had been made by a Complainant requesting a review in relation to the actions taken by the Social Work Department.
These complaints were as follows:-
Complaint 1 - Delay in Officer's response to an e-mail;
Complaint 2 - Disagreement with the decision taken by a Social Work Officer in respect of the level of direct payment allocated to meet the service user's needs; and
Complaint 3 - That the application of an upper limit to the direct payment available to meet the service user's needs constitutes discriminatory practice.
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 and the representative of the Social Work Department.
Having considered the complaints, reviewed the correspondence and written submissions before them and having regard to the oral representations, the Complaints Review Committee agreed that the following be recommended to the Social Work and Health Committee that:-
(i) in relation to Complaint 1 - Delay in Officer's response to an e-mail:-
that this complaint be upheld and that it be noted that the Social Work Department had also upheld this part of the complaint at the previous stage of the complaints process and that the concerns of the Committee in relation to the delay in responding to the Complainant be noted;
(ii) in relation to Complaint 2 - Disagreement with the decision taken by a Social Work Officer in respect of the level of direct payment allocated to meet the service user's needs:-
that this complaint be upheld in part. The Committee observed that there was lack of clarity in what was meant by exceptional needs and that the Social Work Department should seek to clarify this in working documentation for the clarity and understanding of service users and Social Work practitioners of Dundee City Council Social Work Department to ensure clarity and fairness across the board for all service users, and that the Social Work Department be remitted to review the circumstances of the service user to consider whether or not they had exceptional needs which might justify increasing the level of direct payment; and
(iii) in relation to Complaint 3 - That the application of an upper limit to the direct payment available to meet the service user's needs constitutes discriminatory practice:-
that this be not upheld but that the Social Work Department be requested to give consideration to the development of guidance for service users to allow them to further their understanding of the scope of direct payments and, in particular, the upper limit of payment, to allow for those circumstances where a service user felt there were exceptional circumstances in their particular case, and they considered that they met criteria for a further care arrangement which would require financial contribution from the Council over and above that particular limit and, that in relation to the service user's case that her circumstances be remitted back to the Social Work Department for review.
Thomas TAIT, Chairperson.