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Complaints on social services almost double.

Byline: DAVID POWELL

COMPLAINTS about a council's social services department have almost doubled in the last year in a "dramatic" increase, it has emerged.

There were 36 complaints to the Conwy Council department in 2008-09 but that figure jumped to 69 in 2009-10, according to a report. Sixty of them were resolved promptly.

The council says the rise is due to more efficient data gathering and complainants being more "willing" to come forward.

Councillors will study the complaints at an Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting today.

The report tells how the 69 complaints were classed as Registered Statutory Complaints - there were actually 76 complaints in total.

It states: "The number of complaints received and considered within the Social Services Complaints Procedure has dramatically increased to almost twice last year's figure." It found:. Many complaints within adult services "stemmed from service users and carers allegedly not being informed their care may involve costs to themselves either upon discharge from hospital or on entering a care home."

. There was a lack of communication and people not kept informed of what is happening with their care/support or telephone calls not being returned.. Relatives and carers not being involved or consulted on care issues involving service users.

But the report states Conwy's complaints department found people moving from hospital into a home, or their relatives, may be too stressed and "not in the best frame of mind" to take in information about costs - and then they complain.

They can now sign a new form to prove they know a cost may be incurred. Since the introduction of this form there have been no complaints.

The report also found staff "need to be made aware" of the importance of keeping people informed.

It also found involving individuals' families can be "contentious" but a family's wishes may be sought if an individual "lacks capacity" and the family "have something to contribute".

Staff are working on keeping to timescales, says the report.

Cabinet member for Social Care and Health Cllr Liz Roberts was unavailable to comment on the report.

CHILD PROTECTION FIGURES RISE IN the year to the end of March the number of children on the child protection register in Denbighshire rose by nearly a quarter -from 61 to 76. However, the figure in Conwy decreased from 56 to 48. The figures are revealed in the annual report of the Conwy and Denbighshire Local Safeguarding Children Board. Of a total of 124 children on the register, a large proportion were aged between one and four. Neglect was easily the largest category of abuse.

The figures come after councils highlighted difficulties in recruiting foster carers across the region, according to a Daily Post report yesterday. It is partly because of a rise in numbers of youngsters being looked after in the region which went up from 810 in 2009 to 895 this year -a rise of 10% in just 12 months. An Isle of Anglesey county council spokesman told how that authority had a particular shortage of Welsh speaking carers aswell as foster families who can offer a home to brothers and sisters.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 19, 2010
Words:517
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