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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Gwynedd Council – Malicious Or Incompetent ?

So why is Gwynedd council delaying the release of the Independent Investigators Report into our Stage 2 complaint raised with the council as advised by the Ombudsman for Wales in May, 2017 ?
I understand that this will spoil the council’s data figures and put an end to the boasting by the Head of the Children and Family Department regarding the lack of complaints being escalated to stage 2, but these are small matters when compared to helping a disabled child obtain the help that is due him.
Aren’t they ?
I am also aware that using the web to publicise our story may have entrenched some within the council and social services to deny the child his rights and us the Independent Report.
 But it was the council themselves who first took to the web to whitewash and diss our attempts at obtaining services for the child and this blog was started to tell the very different reality of our situation, as the report gave a very one sided view of things.
 It is becoming increasingly obvious that  Gwynedd Council’s Complaints Department and Procedure is not fit for purpose and that when or if we are finally allowed the ‘Independent Report’ will it be so censored or sanitised that it bears no resemblance to the original ?
Fearing this, I feel it would be useful to have some record of the complaint available on the web and so I am going to go through each point of our complaint – and our desired outcomes – here. There will obviously be redactions to protect not only the identity of the child but, also, those employees of the council who have acted professionally.
One point of our complaint was –
 (Child) was on a Child in Need Plan, and as a result of Jamie Hayden (social worker) not attending the CIN Plan Review Meeting on 25th May 2016, no review was carried out. Complainants wish to know what has happened to (Child’s) Child in Need Plan since the last CIN Meeting held in February 2016, and how are social services evidencing that (Child’s) needs are being met? (Parents) have never received any correspondence or information informing them that the Child in Need Plan had ended or why.
Our desired outcome to this point of complaint was –
 The complainants seek a full and comprehensive explanation from Gwynedd County Council as to why (Child’s) Child in Need Plan was not properly reviewed, updated, and minuted, as Gwynedd Social Services department policy and procedure clearly stated..
Oh dear – now this could be sticky for the council as all Children cases need careful review and updating and accurate records and minutes kept  – not just those on a CIN plan.

Gwynedd’s Social Service’s past mistakes and failings in this child’s case are clearly documented in an Independent Investigators Report from 2010. Nothing appears to have changed.

Yet Gwynedd Council  literature, policies etc on complaints handling and outcomes assure the public that lessons are learnt and changes made.

 Or are they..?
Answers on a postcard postage stamp, please.

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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Gwynedd Council Stage 2 Complaint Update.

It is the week before Christmas and Cyngor Gwynedd customer care(!) send me an email in connection with the Independent report which they have had in their possession for over 7 weeks now.

They tell me the report has – finally – been sent back to the Investigator for questions to be asked and seeking the clarity they said was to be sought weeks ago –

“….I will arrange a meeting the first week in January for the Senior Managers to discuss the report.

This is the situation as it currently stands, if something does change I will let you know.”

We have repeatedly asked for a copy of the report, who the adjudicating officer is in this matter and whether or not the Independent Investigator has upheld our 6 points of complaint.

The council have refused to answer us and when asked who we may contact in order to discuss our concerns in the interest of fairness and transparency, we received the following –

“If you wish to discuss your concerns regarding the Stage 2 investigation, you are welcome to contact the Ombudsman at any point.”

We obviously wanted to discuss our concerns with council officers actually dealing with our complaint and not the Ombudsman – that may come later.

But as the council are aware it was the Ombudsman who first ‘suggested’ to me to raise the complaint way back in May.The Ombudsman wrote –

” I have also informed the Council of your intention to submit a complaint and that I expect it to provide you with a full response to your concerns.”

That was 7 MONTHS ago….

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#Gwynedd Council. Clarity Or Cover Up ?

So what has become of the complaint against Cyngor Gwynedd Council Children and Family  Department first raised on the 25th May ?

The report by an Independent Investigator was completed and handed to Gwynedd council on the 30th October.

Gwynedd council are refusing to say if our complaint was successful and are also refusing us sight of the completed report.

Gwynedd council have also informed me there will be a further delay while they attempt to sanitise revise redact clarify some aspects of the ‘independent’ report before we are allowed a copy.

If our complaint had failed the council would have informed us of this by now so I can only assume that the complaint was upheld – for the time being at least !


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Eyes On #Gwynedd – Shout Out.

The stage 2 complaint first raised against Cyngor Gwynedd Council, in May, is nearly complete and to be published by October, 2017.

The Ombudsman for Wales has also started their separate investigation into Gwynedd Children and Family Support (!) team for issues arising from 2010.

I have encountered some truly unprofessional and appalling behaviour – from support services through social worker(s) to managers and even a head of department not to mention the misnamed customer care team.

And I wonder…this must have happened to other people in Gwynedd ?

For the next period of time many eyes will be on the Gwynedd Social Services Children and Family Support (!) department but the remit for scrutiny is only for this families case.

So I ask if you feel that you have been let down by Gwynedd council social services in the past, come forward and tell your story now.

To those good service workers in the department and elsewhere in the council – who know of poor management, unprofessional behaviour , bullying, bad practice etc – now is the time to speak out and help change Gwynedd’s failing council.


#Aberdaron #Bala #Clynnog #Criccieth #Dolgellau #Harlech #Llanbedr #Porthmadog #Pwllheli #Tywyn