Big rise in complaints about children’s social services in Norfolk
23:11 17 June 2014
The number of complaints made about children’s social services in Norfolk rose by 27pc in the past year, according to data presented to councillors yesterday.
The increase comes at a time when the county council has been under close scrutiny from both the Department for Education and Ofsted over concerns about education and social care in the county.
A total of 800 complaints were recorded in 2013-14, compared to 630 in the previous year.
In both years, the highest number of complaints were about the City and South division of the Children’s Services Department, with a total of 234 last year – a 37pc increase on the year before.
The Breckland and West division saw an 18pc increase in complaints, rising to 144 from 122 previously, with the North and East seeing an increase of just one per cent, to a total of 152 complaints.
The figures were revealed in a report to yesterday’s meeting of the Children’s Services Committee.
Helen Wetherall, interim assistant director for performance in the department, told councillors that while the figures might seem negative on the face of it, the reason for the increase might be that when people complain they see something is done, or it could be a result of the council encouraging more people to complain so it can learn how to improve its services.
The report also said the Breckland and West Division received 44 compliments, City and South received 45 compliments, compared to 32 in the North, East and Broadlands. The councillors also heard that although the council submitted its improvement plan for children’s social services to the Department for Education in February, it had yet to receive a formal response.
However, the committee was told that informal feedback was that the plan was more than “fit for purpose”, and was thought to be “robust”.
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