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Significant increase in complaints received by social services in Bridgend

Bridgend County Borough Council's Civic Offices on Angel Street (Pic: Bridgend County Borough Council)

A REPORT given to Bridgend Council has shown a “significant increase” in the number of complaints received by social services over the past year.

The Social Services Representations and Complaints Annual Report gives a review of the effectiveness of the department’s complaints procedures every year.

It showed this year that the number of complaints had increased by more than 100 in total, with 191 complaints received in 2022-23 compared to just 74 in 2021-22.

In a report given to council bosses at a cabinet meeting on November 21, they heard that 49 complaints were recorded as statutory, while a further 142 were settled with early resolutions.

The report read: “During 2022-2023 a total of 49 complaints were addressed in accordance with the Statutory Complaints Procedure by Social Services equating to 26% of all complaints received. 41 were dealt with at Stage 1, and 8 progressed through to Stage 2.

“Stage 2 is the formal investigation stage requiring the appointment of an independent investigator; therefore, the figures suggest that there may be a higher level of complexity of those cases that proceed through the formal process.”

Officers described one potential cause of the increase, which they said could have stemmed from a high turn over of staff and significant use of agency workforce during that period.

The report added that while there was an increase in complaints, there was also an increase in compliments given, with a total of 257 received, leading to questions over whether the increase in both figures were representative of a higher amount of interaction with the complaints process.

Members in attendance at the meeting noted the report which officers had described as “balanced,” adding how continuing to engage with such reviews would help them improve the services they provide in the future.

Cllr Jane Gebbie said: “I think it’s enormously important. I’m more than happy to move the recommendation. It is a statutory requirement for us to have this, and actually it assists us in the development and the provision and delivery of our services.”

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