Improvments in social services teams

New measures have been introduced at South Tyneside Council's child protection department
New measures have been introduced at South Tyneside Council's child protection department

New measures have been introduced in a bid to improve children and families social care services in South Tyneside.

The moves - which include training, updated guidance for staff dealing with parents and the introduction of a quality assurance policy to improve social work practice - comes following an annual review of the department.

Coun Jim Foreman

Coun Jim Foreman

This looked at the number of complaints and compliments the service received in the past year.

Between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, the department received 45 complaints - the same number as the previous year. Of those, 11 were referred to the Local Government Ombudsman, with findings of maladministration or injustice against the council in seven.

The number of compliments received in the same time period was 55, this was down on the 156 it received the previous year.

In adult services between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 the department received 48 complaints, up from the 40 received last year. Of those 11 were referred to the Local Government Ombudsman, with maladministration and injustice found in three cases. Compliments received in the same period was 34, down from the 38 received the previous year.

It shows how lucky we are with the staff we have

Coun Jim Foreman

The annual report was delivered to councillors at the recent People Select Committee,

Coun Jim Foreman said: “It’s alright looking at the number of complaints. But when you look at the number of complaints compared to the number of cases the staff deal with, they are relatively low.

“It shows how lucky we are with the staff we have.

“I am sure the contact our staff have had in both adult and children services with people runs into its thousands - so this shows how much our staff are putting in. We do have excellent staff.”

The work of staff was also praised by other councillors at the meeting with Coun Eileen Leask describing the service as “fabulous.”

In both departments staff are also being asked to record compliments and positive comments as well as complaints.