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Archived: Dilston College

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Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 21 January 2014
Date of Publication: 20 February 2014
Inspection Report published 20 February 2014 PDF | 85.84 KB

People should have their complaints listened to and acted on properly (outcome 17)

Meeting this standard

We checked that people who use this service

  • Are sure that their comments and complaints are listened to and acted on effectively.
  • Know that they will not be discriminated against for making a complaint.

How this check was done

We looked at the personal care or treatment records of people who use the service, carried out a visit on 21 January 2014, observed how people were being cared for and checked how people were cared for at each stage of their treatment and care. We talked with people who use the service, talked with carers and / or family members, talked with staff and talked with commissioners of services.

We were supported on this inspection by an expert-by-experience. This is a person who has personal experience of using or caring for someone who uses this type of care service.

Our judgement

There was an effective complaints system available. Comments and complaints people made were responded to appropriately.

Reasons for our judgement

We talked with the manager about the systems in place for managing complaints and looked at examples of how recent complaints raised had been responded to.

The manager told us that a new Mencap feedback and complaints management system had been recently introduced which included practice guides for staff and students together with policies and procedures. The complaints procedure included, amongst other information, guidance on what happens when a complaint is received, the investigation and response times, and how to complain to an external agency if necessary. Complaint information was also available in an ‘easy read’ format to meet the needs of some students. The manager reported that the handling and recording of complaints had improved with the new system. She reported that the easy read guide was not always suitable for some students but that staff used individual approaches and good awareness of communication strategies to support people to make a complaint.

We asked for and received a summary of complaints people had made and the provider's responses. We looked at four complaints received since April 2012, all of which were fully recorded and provided a time line of responses, investigation and prompt and informative feedback to the complainant. It was apparent from discussion with the manager, that the college and the provider overall, had an open and responsive approach. We found they were committed to learning lessons from complaints, for example, for improved communications, where this had been highlighted as an issue. We found that staff worked hard to build and maintain relationships with relatives in the best interests of students.

We talked with staff about their understanding of the complaints procedure and asked them if they had ever supported any students to make a complaint. A tutor told us that he had not been involved in any complaints but was aware of the provider’s complaint policy and procedures. He said, "Our emphasis is on involvement and consultation with students and their families. This means that we are all working together and any issues are quickly discussed and resolved”. One support worker told us, “I have supported one student to make a complaint. He wasn’t happy with a number of things and wanted to make a complaint. We sat down together and we wrote everything down. It was dealt with properly by management and the student concerned was happy with the outcome.” This showed that staff were aware of their role in the complaints process and students were given support to make complaints where they needed assistance.

We spoke with three students about complaints. They all told us that they had not had cause to make a complaint about the service that they received, but they would happily do so if need be. One student said, “I haven’t complained, but if I needed to I would tell the staff.” This showed that students felt comfortable enough to make a complaint without fear that they would be discriminated against for making that complaint.

We spoke with the parents of four students who resided at the college to ascertain their views of the provider’s complaints policies and procedures. The provider may find it useful to note that none of these parents could recall being given formal information on how to complain about the care that their son or daughter received whilst resident at Dilston College. Despite this, all of the parents shared the view that they would not hesitate to contact the provider should they have any reason to complain in the future, and they were confident that their complaints would be handled appropriately.