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Agenda item

City of York Council - Annual Complaints Report 2020 to 2021

This report provides Members with the annual reports covering April 2020 to March 2021 in respect of :

·        Adult’s social care

·        Children’s social care

·        Corporate complaints 



The Annual Complaints Report 2020-2021 was presented to members by the Information Governance & Feedback Team Manager and the Complaints and Feedback Manager. This was presented  to the Committee as a legal requirement.  The Officers highlighted  the key areas of the report highlighted  the key areas of the report and explained the changes that had taken place during the year.  In response to questions from members regarding the four areas of the report the following points were noted:


The department had taken on the early investigation / intervention of complaints as part of the contingency arrangements for service areas that were diverting resources into the Covid response.


There had been fewer calls logged during the time frame of the report and this accounted for the drop in the number of complaints. The team have made efforts to ensure that the procedure for making a complaint was clear and accessible to all.


It has been difficult to get staff to recognise compliments and pass them on.  Officers attend management meetings and remind the teams how compliments can be spotted and recorded. This was done through email, the Have Your Say inbox and the staff commendation scheme, these were logged on the member of staff’s personnel file.


The Complaints Officer attends a link network meeting with representatives from other Local Authorities where best practice is shared. Benchmarking and comparative data in the report has been provided by the local government ombudsman.


Complaints that come in via the Members inbox, have been passed to the complaints team. It was requested that complaints, comments or compliments were made through the Have Your Say inbox or via the online form on the website.


The department has procured an independent company that has investigated complaints at stages of the complaints procedure.  Increased spend on independent investigators was due to the increased complexity of cases.


The increased number of compliments recorded in Children’s Social Care was believed to be due to better reporting and recording.


In Adult Social Care, evidence of improvement must be submitted to the ombudsman once decisions have been made by them.  The ombudsman have recognised  that, in several cases, appropriate action has already been taken prior to a complaint having been upheld.


During Covid, for both Children and Adult Services, the complaints team have investigated complaints in greater detail in the first instance so as to better understand the nature of the complaint.  This has resulted in earlier detection of issues and identified points of learning that have been shared across departments with improvements embedded into systems.  This has also altered the categorisation of complaints. The categories of complaints are set by national reporting conventions.



Some general points were noted, in that the time frame of the report was prior to the introduction of the 4Cs framework.  Complaints advisors were now responsible for seeing complaints through from start to finish, there should be a significant reduction in the number of ‘out of time’ responses in future. The advisors categorised complaints based on clarification with the customer.


The EAP service area had improved responses to missed services and there has been a drop in complaints in that area.  Work has been ongoing with directorates that receive the most complaints, the team have attended directorate meetings and have been included as a standing item on their agendas.   Housing has changed directorate and has undergone a restructure.


Individual scrutiny chairs could request a breakdown of complaints for their own area.


The awards for financial recompense has been paid directly from the budget of the individual service areas.


Complaints made by members of staff regarding their treatment by a customer have been dealt with by a process within the HR department. They have also been logged within the Health & Safety portal. Complaints regarding staff conduct were logged by the department and dealt with by HR. The process has been explained in the Corporate Complaints procedure.



Officers were thanked for their report.




             i.                 That the report be noted.

            ii.                 The Information, Governance & Feedback Team     Manager noted Members’ suggestions for future improvements to the content of the report.


Reason: To ensure the Committee meets its legal requirements in relation to complaints.



Supporting documents:


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