The frequency and complexity of complaints is increasing year on year and the management and range and scope of issues is becoming far more demanding on management time. Complaints management is therefore vital to support operational services. Incorrect handling of complaints can have a huge impact on senior management time which could lead to the detriment of service delivery. Outcomes may result in legal action, findings from the Ombudsman or direction from the Secretary of State or Education Funding Agency.
Following a review of complaints management across the council, a corporate complaints team was established in December 2016. The Council’s Complaints Team currently provides an effective complaints service across all council services including for the Local Authority (LA) as recognised through recent OFSTED inspections. Since April 2013 a traded service has been available to schools and for academies since 2014. The team continues to support staff and senior management to ensure that complaints are handled in accordance with best practice and current legislation over the full range of services provided by the County Council.
The Complaints Team can provide an efficient and responsive service to support academies to meet their statutory duties for complaints by providing high quality support and detailed advice. The service is underpinned by providing schools and academies with a robust model complaints policy and supporting policies/documentation. We are very experienced in providing advice to Schools and LA personnel and have a clear understanding and detailed knowledge regarding the full range of complaints management issues that regularly arise in schools and in public service generally.
The LA offers a high standard and efficient complaints support service to assist academies in the management of complaints to ensure that the academy’s own reputation is protected and that the inherent risks in complaint management are mitigated. Both schools and academies are already in contact with the service seeking advice and this proposal shall encompass the informal support that is regularly provided at the request of headteachers/principals and governors.
The service enables schools and academies to manage their complaints more effectively.