Gwynedd Council Complaint – Three Become One.

It is now 12 weeks since Cyngor Gwynedd council received the ‘Independent Report’ into our Stage 2 complaint first raised in May, 2017, as advised by the Ombudsman for Wales.

The council continue to ignore our requests for a copy of the Report and refuse to say whether our 6 points of complaint have been upheld by the Investigator.

The previous posts have given details of two points – of six – of our complaint and may go someway to explain Gwynedd’s Children and Family Support Department’s seeming reluctance to share the report with ourselves.

Due to the limitations I have in publicising this case and the way the Independent Investigator has written the complaint it is easier to discuss the next three points as one.

All three points of complaint reference the input of Senior Social Worker, Delyth Davies, who was assigned to carry out a Core Assessment of Needs on a diagnosed Autistic child with PDA and other complex issues.

The complaint contends that the Core assessment does not reflect the needs of the child and totally ignores the fact the child has needs relating to independence, socialisation and self-care skills, the child also has S.E.N. It states that all the child’s needs are met by parents and education, but with no regard for the future and what the needs and possible limitations may be as the child enters adulthood.

I have been involved in Assessments in the past – assessing the elderly for dementia and related care needs – and in my professional opinion the assessment undertaken by Delyth Davies was ‘inadequate’ to say the least.

Delyth Davies was questioned by the parents why the assessment considered the child to have no ‘disability’, she acted surprised and stated that it was a mistake. When asked if she would then put right her ‘mistake’, she said she could not answer at that time, due to having to speak with her managers first. Those managers are Sharron Carter Williams and Melvin Panther.

Delyth Davies had asked for additional information to be sent electronically to her as she stated she could only add information and amend things on the computer and she couldn’t just ‘dip in and out of it’.

My wife duly scanned and sent copies to Delyth Davies electronically for this purpose, as she was asked. No changes were made.

Information provided by parents and a Tutor were ‘filed’ instead of being included in the Core Assessment as promised, nor was a change made to the Core Assessment to state that the child was considered disabled.

The complaint also asks Delyth Davies, for an explanation of why she thought it appropriate to send an email regarding our complaint to someone not being part of or involved, in any way, with the complaint.

I have sighted the email and I read it as being written for one reason only – to maliciously cause trouble for my wife. Hopefully, the social worker’s explanation when finally released will assure me this is not the case.

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An Email To #Gwynedd Council Corporate Directors…

With Gwynedd council customer care (!) still refusing to respond to our questions regarding the Stage 2 complaint first raised with them on May 25th, last year, we emailed the Corporate Management Team, yesterday, with our concerns – Chief Executive, Dilwyn Williams, Corporate Directors, Iwan T Jones and Morwena Edwards.

FAO Gwynedd Council Corporate Management Team

As you will be aware we have a current Stage 2 complaint ongoing with Gwynedd Council Children and Families Department, first raised on the 25th of May 2017.

The Independent Investigator presented her completed report to the Council at the end of October.

We were then informed that the Council were seeking clarity from the Investigator and questioning the report.

The Council have been in possession of the completed Independent Investigators report for 11 weeks now.

The whole Stage 2 process is as you know to be completed within 25 days, do you find this acceptable ?

We have found the Counci’s handling of this complaint and us as complainants to be obstructive, unhelpful and the Council to be utterly lacking in transparency and it is also obvious that Customer Care do not act independently of the Department as they should, which, we contend, leads to complainants being treated unfairly.

We have asked for information regarding the outcome of the Independent Investigation and also the Council’s Complaints procedure.

No answers were given, or information provided.

We asked who within the Council we could contact to discuss our issues, we received no answer to this and worse were wrongly advised by Customer Care that we were free to discuss our complaint with the Ombudsman at any time.

We did indeed contact the Ombudsman to discuss the issues surrounding our complaint and were told –

“In relation to your dissatisfaction with the Council’s handling of your Stage 2 investigation, as I explained in my previous email, this matter does not fall within the scope of my investigation and therefore I am unable to consider it….
…If you wish for this matter to be considered by the Ombudsman, you would need to submit a complaint, by completing the online form on our website.  I am unable to speculate whether submitting a complaint to this office would affect the Council’s current Stage 2 investigation”

In light of the ongoing situation and the bad advice from Customer Care, perhaps you would be so kind as to furnish us with the information we require –

1. Were the six points of complaint upheld by the Independent Investigator or not ?

2. What were the questions presented, by the department, to the Independent Investigator regarding the report submitted to the Council in October ?

3. Who is the Adjudicating Officer in this matter?

4. On what date can we expect the Council to provide us with the report ?

5.Please provide us with a link to Gwynedd Council’s Policy and Welsh Government guidelines that supports the Council in withholding the outcome of the Independent Investigator’s Report and the Report itself.

6. Please advise us of our rights as complainants in relation to our being supplied with the above information, without delay.

7. We ask that if we were to raise a formal complaint into how the Council and the Customer Care department have been dealing with our formal complaint would this, in any way, interfere with or cause any further delay to our formal complaint first raised with the Council on the 25th May, 2017 ?

We also ask that you view the emails between ourselves and Customer Care, as that will give you further insight into our very pertinent concerns.

Today, we received an email from a Senior Executive Officer on behalf of Morwena Edwards.
It was brief – 3 sentences – thanking me for our email and included the line –

“I can assure you that Gwynedd Council takes all complaints seriously and I will endeavour to respond to the specific questions detailed in your email within 5 working days.”

Well.. we are not assured – who would be after being treated so badly for so long ? – and so emailed back with the question we have been asking ever since the Independent report was received by The Council in October, last year.

“Have our 6 points of complaint been upheld by the Independent Investigator ?”

The email was swiftly answered by the council –
“Whilst I understand your frustrations, without having had the opportunity to look into the matter, I am unable today, to answer your question. I will respond to you within 5 working days.”

More delay in a process that has taken nearly 8 months now.

Something is so badly wrong within Gwynedd Council.

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Cyngor Gwynedd Council Handling Of Stage 2 Complaints – 2018.

Following on from the post, last year, in which the customer care (!) team at Cyngor Gwynedd council advised contacting the Ombudsman for Wales to discuss our concerns regarding our stage 2 complaint, we did indeed contact the Ombudsman.

Their initial response appeared to imply that we could raise a formal complaint into our formal complaint and so, seeking more clarity we sent the email below –

“We were somewhat confused by your response. We have no in depth knowledge of the statutory policy and procedure in such matters and have sought advice from the Council as to our and the Council’s rights during the process. So far without success….

We do know however that the handling of our complaint and us as complainants by the Senior Management Team and Customer Care is just plain wrong.

Your office has repeatedly stated that the Ombudsman is independent of both complainants and public bodies and from your own email the other day – ‘He is not an advocate for either party and his function is to investigate complaints put to him, reaching a view on the evidence presented, in an impartial manner’.

May we remind you that the Ombudsman has made decisions on our case purely on ‘new information’ – not evidence based – provided to them by the council in the past without allowing us sight of said information or allowing us to comment and rebuff such ‘information’.

We also remind you that the Ombudsman’s office has given us assurances in the past which have transpired to be false and we have challenged the Ombudsman’s past decisions in this case as inadequate and nonsensical.

Indeed we feel that had the Ombudsman’s original decision been adhered to, that the Council were to undertake the Original Stage 2 complaint, then some of the current situation may well have been avoided.

We contend that the Ombudsman’s methods do not allow for fairness and transparency when only one side is allowed free and unfettered access to his office and can present information that the complainant is told nothing about and so cannot counter argue. How on earth is this fair or acting in ‘an impartial manner’ ?

This whole process of dealing with the Ombudsman and the Council is exhausting and is causing considerable upset and anguish. We are reasonably intelligent and due to the life we lead have learnt to be mentally resilient, yet we are suffering – we know that so many others in similar situations give up in despair, worse is the fact that both the Ombudsman and the Council appear to have forgotten completely the needs of the child in all this….”

…We are at present pondering on whether to make another complaint with the Ombudsman or put in a formal complaint with the Council in regard to their handling of our current Stage 2 complaint. But our experiences tells us that this whole process is flawed to the extent of not being fit for purpose.

Please inform us whether submitting another Stage 2 to the Council, or raising a complaint with the Ombudsman’s office will in any way further delay or interfere with our current Stage 2 complaint.”

They replied –

“…If you wish for this matter to be considered by the Ombudsman, you would need to submit a complaint, by completing the online form on our website.  I am unable to speculate whether submitting a complaint to this office would affect the Council’s current Stage 2 investigation. The decision whether or not to approach the Ombudsman at this stage is yours and I am unable to advise you in that regard.  However, please be aware that we normally expect you to exhaust the Council’s complaints procedure before approaching us.”

Now the Ombudsman’s use of the word ‘speculate’ caused my spider senses to tingle.

So we contacted the Gwynedd customer care (!) and asked the question –

“… if we were to raise a formal complaint into how the council and the customer care department have been dealing with our formal complaint would this, in any way, interfere with or cause any further delay to our formal complaint first raised with you on the 25th May, 2017 ?”

Such a convoluted and insane question to ask a county council, but eh.

The council has fallen silent.

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No Care at Cyngor Gwynedd Council.

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As most of you know, Anthea is due a second hip replacement in a weeks time. She has already had one 6 years ago. As advised by the Hospital we contacted GWYNEDD COUNTY COUNCIL to arrange home help & care. Despite repeated requests by the two of us, GCC have REFUSED to carry out an assessment regarding her needs before the operation. They state that since her last op six years ago, policy has changed. Apparently they now cannot assess her needs until she returns home as they will not know what her needs will be. 

We have already been told that Anth will be non-weight bearing for six weeks. The house layout has not changed since her last op. She cannot cook hot meals herself still. The op will be an exact replica of the last one. My point is, we know what to expect.

However GCC have refused to meet with us until AFTER the op. So, with her operation being on a Saturday morning, she could be out on Sunday evening. I leave for work at 7.20. How is Anthea supposed to answer the door to the assessment team if they call? How is she to have a hot meal? Or shower? These are all problem areas.

Well the Head of Adult, Health and Wellbeing had answers:

– I could take (unpaid) time off work
– we could pay for private care
– we could rely on family members
– we could rely on friends

or, allegedly, she knows 90 year olds that need NO care, so why should a 39 year old need help? (she was particularly proud of this fact.
Proud that 90 year olds were left with NO help, care and support! PROUD😡)

AND Anth shouldn’t shower for six weeks (funny really, the hospital encouraged her to shower BEFORE she left). Odd how this individual knows better than the experts.

Can I point out that Anth has worked for 21 years with very few days off.

I have worked for 24 years since leaving Uni and went 18+ years without a day off. We both pay our taxes. Yet you will see here a copy of the letter denying us a meeting BEFORE her op. The Head of this so-called caring Dept refused to answer whether she had ever had a hip replacement op. She is not even a qualified doctor. Yet she is qualified to tell us what we may or may not need without asking any questions regarding the previous op, what the hospital has said, the layout of the house, etc.

By the way, Anth rang the Dept and was told the meeting would not take place before the op. I rang and was told the same. I threatened to go to the papers over the fact that Anth could be left for a day or more with any home help and care. I was then informed that ‘I had misunderstood and a meeting WOULD happen before her op’. I was assured it would happen and that GCC would no way leave us in this situation. I then asked for a senior member to ring me by the end of the following week. At 4.50pm on the Friday, having waited all week, I rang and got through to the Head of the Dept. She had no intention of ringing. She again failed to ring at 9am the following Monday. I had to ring at 4pm again. She had sent this letter saying no meeting was to take place before the op so didn’t see why she needed to ring. She accused me of getting upset and annoyed at her refusal to sanction a meeting before the op even though we know, and the surgeon knows what to expect.


Please draw your own conclusions and share.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Anthea Evans
#GCC #GwyneddCountyCouncil #AdultHealthandWellbeingDepartment #AdranOedolionIechydaLlesiant