To receive an annual update on issues that have been raised and any action that has been taken to improve services.
The Quality Assurance Team Manager introduced the Adult Social Care – Compliments, Complaints and User Feedback – Annual Report 2020/21. The main points raised were as follows:
· 149 complaints had been received across BCP 2020/2021. This was a decrease from 2019/2020 (178 complaints). This was reflective of the national picture, mainly due to Covid.
· In terms of Ombudsman complaints there were 10 referrals compared to 13 year before. 1 was partially upheld, 4 were upheld and there were 5 awaiting decision from the Ombudsman.
· Common themes included: communication and perceived standard of service, professional practice and finance and charging.
· 149 compliments were received as well as 219 messages of thanks and appreciation. These are all shared throughout the staff newsletter and within individual teams.
· The three main areas highlighted in the summary of learning were: 1) improving the complaint service, this involved delivering workshops to Service Managers and front line officers, offering advice and support around the complaints process such as the understanding of timeframes, writing response letters, ombudsman guidance and how to manage Unreasonably Persistent Complainants. Additionally, an Online Complaints Tool Kit had been developed, which featured template letters, guidance and use of language suggestions. Following on from this work had been done on support to commissioned providers when handling complaints. Future plans on this matter included provider forum sessions and the delivering of information on good complaint handling practices. 2) Improving access to services for the deaf community. This involved the completion of a complaint investigation report that gave recommendations on improving services for those within the sight and hearing team. Furthermore, the SignLive telephone interpretation system can now be used to contact the ASC Contact Centre including a text facility for the complaints team. 3) Extra Care Housing (ECH) Improvements. During the Covid pandemic restrictions were put in place, such as the closure of communal areas, and these were the focus of many complaints. The Council facilitated virtual meetings between providers and residents to understand and build relationships. Finally, charges for Extra Care facilities had been reviewed as a way to learn from complaints. This resulted in consistency across BCP for all ECH residents.
· A regular focus group had been set up to ensure service user and carer engagement around service improvements were met. This group met bi-monthly online during Covid. The group’s projects included: the co-designing of a hospital discharge survey, views on the financial charging policy and the designing of a number of forms and guidance when writing the ASCCC vision statement.
· An infographic newsletter called ‘You said we did’ was created to raise awareness of the action taken in response to feedback received. It was hoped that this would encourage more people to feed back in future.
· The Dorset Integrated Care System (ICS) was being progressed and the co-designing of engagement principles for partner organisations to had taken place. These principles would ensure that those working in public engagement within the ICS had common standards and purpose that joined together in order to use feedback to inform future shaping of local services.
· The Learning Disability Partnership Board, representing the BCP Council region, continued to drive service improvements through action groups as part of the Big Plan 2018-2021. The Board, alongside the action groups, was working with adults with a learning disability and family carers to enable them to voice their concerns and opinions.
· The NHS Digital survey 2020/2021 was voluntary due to Covid. The focus groups agreed that the survey should not be conducted however a smaller, localised survey was designed in order to gauge users and carer’s views. Other local surveys included a routine questionnaire for those using the ASC Contact Centre and this survey had been re-written to ask questions from a strengths-based perspective.
· The ‘How did we do tool’ will be a new gathering feedback tool that will allow for reflection on the care and support assessment process. This was piloted with front line teams and is in the process of being rolled out across the whole of the long-term services.
· The findings in the report, as well as the quality assurance processes, feed into the Adult Social Care Quality Assurance and Standards Framework. This is all based on the ADASS South West Regional Standards for Quality Assurance and will allow the ASC service to have a clear line of sight into the quality of service provided which places the user at the centre of all work.
The Committee asked several questions following the report. Answers were provided by the Quality Assurance Team Manager. The questions and responses were:
· Cllr C Matthews – A member asked a question on communication and whether there was any comparable data nationally to compare performance against other authorities. The Committee heard that Communication was often an issue and it was not surprising that this was a main area of complaints. It was explained that this was a national issue as could be seen from Ombudsman’s reports. To remedy this, the principle social worker is currently writing practice standards notes, including one on communications. Online training courses are also available for managers to constantly remind and refresh their communications skills. The Service area publish their compliments through their newsletter and send them down through our teams, so that good practices can be shared, which is the same process with complaints.
· A member asked whether the service had managed to increase their capacity on the complaints process training course, The Committee heard that the complaints team had gone out to service managers to deliver training on complaints. Empathy was highlighted as an important part of this training. The training was delivered online and so did not stop during Covid. This training was also offered to service providers.
· The Committee heard that Information Governance (IG) training had been provided online and that there was a designated Teams channel on this subject. It was explained that there were 2 levels of training and that there was also a mandatory online version for all staff on all aspects of IG more specifically relating to personal information.
RESOLVED that the Committee noted the report.