Complaints: joint procedures raise 'serious challenges'

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Monday March 2, 2009
Embargo: Immediate  

Directors of adult social services have warned of 'major problems as the April 1 deadline for the introduction of a new, single local authority and health service complaints procedure gets closer.

According to a paper endorsed by ADASSs executive council, the new single complaints procedure falls below the expectations we had of it: it doesnt offer much practical advice for complaints handlers, compounding the problems arising from the need to implement the new system on a short timescale.


ADASS has concerns that the Department of Healths formal guidance on implementing the new procedure has been issued so late in the day, that serious delays and confusion could well arise following the April 1 due date. The Executive Council  recommended that a 'Task and Finish group be set up by the Association to try to make good some of these deficiencies.


Warning of the importance to service users and patients alike of the NHS and local authorities both being fully prepared to introduce the new system, ADASS President John Dixon said: Our specially constructed emergency task force will examine, develop and roll-out a package of orientation and training for social care complaints practitioners as soon as is humanly possible.


Meanwhile we recommend local authorities nationally, if they feel they have not been sufficiently well briefed, to contact the Department of Health for guidance on the implementation of this fundamentally new approach to complaints.


It is very important that staff are properly trained and prepared; that there is robust guidance for service users, and that there are opportunities for new complaints arrangements to be tied into other complaints mechanisms throughout local government. Despite the publication of the guidance, so late in the day, we have real fears that implementation will bring real confusion, he said.




For further information contact:

John Dixon, ADASS President, 01243 777660

Veronica Jackson, Task and Finish Group Chair, ADASS, 0161 770 4750

Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755


* Pictures of Veronica Jackson and John Dixon available on request





The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England and Northern Ireland. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.