Complaints Review Committee - 27/02/2015
At a MEETING of the COMPLAINTS REVIEW COMMITTEE held at Dundee on 27th February, 2015.
Mr Thomas TAIT
Depute Lord Provost Christina ROBERTS
Councillor Norma McGOVERN
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 1/2015
The Committee considered a complaint which had been made by a Complainant requesting a review in relation to the actions taken and care provided 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 and the representative of the Social Work Department and witnesses called on behalf of both parties.
Having considered the complaints, reviewed the correspondence and written submissions before them and having regard to the oral representations, the Complaints Review Committee agreed the following in respect of each of the concerns raised:-
That a full assessment be carried out that included spending an appropriate time to view the interactions between the mother and child, particularly mornings during seizure activity. This would appear to be a necessary requirement to establish what assistance was needed to safeguard the child.
The Committee recommended that the concern be partially upheld and recommended that a full and proper assessment be carried out in relation to the child's needs, including those locations of care provided by both parents, other family members and carers.
That a consistent approach be provided by a carer rather than a number of different staff who had not been given appropriate and essential training. For staff to provide a quality service, they need to understand the seizure activity and training on what was needed to ensure the child was safe.
The Committee recommended that this concern be upheld and that it be recommended that consistent care should be provided by the carer and/or organisation providing care and that full training in epilepsy should be given to each of those carers appointed with responsibility for the child and that this be reviewed on a regular basis.
That a consistent approach be adopted to address morning hygiene issues seven days per week. Confirmation of the role played by Organisation C in terms of their remit both morning and early evening in terms of the childs hygiene. Confirmation of who was managing the process in terms of the package - it would appear the Social Work Department had no detailed plan in place on a weekly basis and it was dictated by the child's mother rather than the Social Work Department.
Confirmation that a "review" had been carried out and whether any concerns had been raised by workers of Organisation C (for example, his behaviour on a date indicated when it was described by the worker as being "a difficult morning").
The Committee agreed to recommend that this concern be partially upheld and that it be recommended that the Social Work Department ensure that this issue be consulted at the next review of the childs care package. Particular regard should made as to why care is provided on six and not seven days per week.
That a copy of the Conflict Policy and Procedure Policy be made available. Furthermore, an explanation as to how a Family Support Panel could be convened with five panel members that included three members from private companies - two of which directly benefitted financially from awarding their own organisations with lucrative contracts. Assumed that this was not restricted merely to the child's case.
The Committee agreed not to uphold this concern; however if such documents were publicly available these be provided to the Complainant by the Social Work Department.
That if the Social Work Department had no role to play in personal finances as detailed by J H, an explanation as to why S McC wrote a letter to DWP requesting that the father be given a copy of the DLA award letter. Furthermore, why was S McC providing a personal opinion to DWP with no evidence and merely providing a personal opinion?
The Committee agreed not to uphold this concern as it considered it had no remit in respect of matters concerning the DWP. The Committee noted, however that if the Complainant had new concerns about the actions of a Social Worker concerning the childs DLA award letter, a fresh complaint could be made.
That clarification as to why this enablement was removed with no consultation. The mother alleges she did not ask for such a reduction as this was much needed early evening assistance to her (as now evidenced by an incident on the date indicated).
It is believed these hours should be reinstated with immediate effect as the child had been penalised by Dundee City Council Social Work Department, particularly as now reported that the child was merely going to the mother's house and sleeping for around one hour per night between 4-5pm. This was not good for his physical or mental health or indeed his night-time routine of sleep patterns.
Furthermore, the child required one-to-one enablement - the reduction of hours had now seriously compromised the child's care during holiday periods. It is perceived that the difference between child care and enablement and it was contended that the enablement reduction was detrimental to the child's development.
The Committee agreed that this concern not be upheld.
That more detailed discussion/justification about the proposal, the benefits to the child and expected outcomes of the "group work" that was being proposed.
The Committee recommended that this complaint not be upheld and recommended that it be noted that this matter was for the care provider to decide on how care may be supported to the mother in the best interests with the child and that this may not be disclosed to the father.
That confirmation that there were or were not child protection issues. If there was not, why was this language consistently used by three different social workers?
The Committee agreed that it be recommended that Social Work examine this issue further and take accord of it as may be required.
That given the Social Work Department advised they believe it would be beneficial to the child - appoint an appropriate advocate with clearly defined role agreed at the outset.
The Committee agreed that the appointment of an advocate would be beneficial to the child and recommended that this concern be further evaluated with a view to providing advocacy and support with the agreement of both parents.
That a copy of all minutes be made available to the father (including those that the father was not allowed to attend).
The Committee agreed that this concern be partially upheld and recommended that any and all minutes that the father was entitled to should be made available to him after the meeting as soon as practically possible.
Thomas TAIT, Chairperson.