Complaints panels in social care
By Catherine Williams and Katy Ferris
9781905541652N

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This benchmark guide to complaints panels is built on the authors' many years' involvement in - and extensive research into - panels in several local authorities. Aiming to enhance the work of panels for the benefit of all involved, it:
  • introduces the legal requirements and procedure of complaints panels
  • identifies potential pitfalls and suggests how to avoid them
  • advises on achieving best practice, including real case examples
  • explains for advocates and their clients what to expect from the experience.

  • Comprehensive, it contains chapters on the following areas:
  • a brief introduction to complaints panels
  • the composition of panels, the role of its members and how the make-up of the panel may be challenged
  • arrangements for the panel hearing, including timescales and delays, the provision of information for all parties and the suitability of venues
  • the panel hearing and who can attend, the procedure during the panel, how long it lasts and recording the meeting
  • panel recommendations including time pressures, confidentiality and types of recommendations
  • the procedure after the panel, including time limits, the role of the Director, follow up of recommendations and feedback.

  • It is relevant to everyone involved, including:
  • new and experienced panel members
  • complaints managers
  • those responsible for overhauling complaints procedures
  • directors of social care, who have to respond to the panels' recommendations
  • those appointed as Independent People to act as panel members, panel chairs or to participate in investigations prior to hearings
  • anyone going before a complaints panel, and their advisers
  • advocates and lawyers representing those who are making complaints.

  • Users of social care services are increasingly encouraged to come forward with their complaints, as a means both of remedying individual deficiencies and of improving services in general. However, many local authority complaints managers have little guidance on running complaints panels, beyond knowing the legislation and the Department of Health guidelines, and are frequently not aware of how other authorities' panels are conducted. This guide aims to improve the development of panels and to help local authorities achieve best practice.

    The book contains details of significant discounts on bulk purchases available from the publisher.

    Large format paperback. 120 pages. 9781905541652. Published October 2010. £34.95.


    READERSHIP

  • Students, lecturers and researchers in social work, social care and law; and their libraries.
  • All those involved in social care complaints panels, including: new and experienced panel members; complaints managers; those responsible for overhauling complaints procedures; directors of social care; those appointed as Independent People to act as panel members or panel chairs or to participate in investigations prior to hearings.
  • Anyone going before a complaints panel, and their advisers.
  • Advocates and lawyers representing those who are making complaints.



  • CONTENTS

    Preface
    Introduction
    Introduction to the complaints procedure and panels
    The basic procedure for complaints in social care
    Judicial review and the complaints procedure
    Jurisdiction of the procedure
    Key points summary
    Practice illustrations and case examples
    The constitution of the panel
    Composition
    Chairs of the review panel
    Wing members of the review panel
    Reflection of diversity and gender on the panel
    Payment of panel members
    Training of the review panel
    The importance of the complaints manager
    Key points summary
    Practice illustrations and case examples
    Arrangements for the panel hearing
    Timescales, including delay
    The provision of information prior to panel
    Venue and timing of the panel
    Overall administrative arrangements
    Key points summary
    Practice illustrations and case examples
    The panel hearing
    Attendees at the hearing: the complainant and supporter or advocate; legal support; other personnel
    Pre-panel meeting
    The procedure for the hearing
    The duration of the panel
    A record of the meeting
    Key points summary
    Key illustrations and case examples
    Recommendations of the panel
    Panel deliberation
    Confidentiality and storage of panel papers
    Majority or unanimous verdicts?
    Types of recommendations and remedies, including compensation
    A record of the outcome
    Informing the complainant of the outcome
    Key points summary
    Key illustrations and case examples
    Procedure after the panel
    Time limit for response
    Where do the recommendations go?
    Does the director follow the recommendations?
    Chair informed of the outcome?
    Follow up of recommendations
    Feedback from complainants about their experience of the panel
    Key points summary
    Key illustrations and case examples
    References


    ABOUT THE AUTHORS

    Catherine Williams was appointed, in 1991, as an Independent Investigator of complaints and Independent Chair of Panels at the inception of the Children Act 1989; and has been involved in complaints ever since. She is an honorary Reader in Law at the University of Sheffield. Catherine has written several articles on the subject of complaints and, with Helen Jordan, wrote an early study on the operation of the complaints procedure in six different Local Authority areas.

    Katy Ferris completed an empirical PhD of Social Services Complaints Procedures in England and Wales, in 2006. She is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Sheffield Hallam University and has worked as an Independent Panel Member and Chair.


    REVIEW

    "Useful for training staff or panel members... Helpfully, the publisher offers discounts for bulk purchases." Professional Social Work

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