Social services complaints

Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.
Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.

There was a 22.82% increase in complaints received last year by Scottish Borders Council about its social services.

At this week’s meeting of the council executive, councillors were told that of the 113 complaints made in 2016, 36 were not upheld, 50 were either upheld or partially upheld, nine were withdrawn, 13 were logged as invalid, on four occasions the complainant refused to engage with the council and one is on-going.

The majority of complaints, 67%, were about social care and health, followed by 31% about children and young people’s services.

In their report to councillors, Sylvia Mendham and Carole Douglas said: “There were a number of issues highlighted during this year.

“A number of complaints highlighted delays in people being assessed and delays in being allocated a care manager.

“There has also been a big increase in the number of complaints being submitted by relatives or friends of people known to social services without the individual’s consent. These complaints are forwarded to relevant staff for their attention and subsequent action.

“The number of complaints has increased steadily each year, partly because people are aware of the complaints process and people’s expectations of the department and having to wait to be assessed for a service.”

Changes to the handling of complaints are due to start on April 1 this year.