Agenda item




  • This item was taken after agenda item 8;
  • Mr M. MacDonald having earlier declared an interest in this item remained in the meeting but did not partake in the discussions or the voting thereof.]


The Committee received for consideration the 2021/22 annual letter from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. 


Annually, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW) provides each County Council with a letter in the form of a factsheet with accompanying data to assist in reviewing performance.


The Committee duly considered the letter and the key points arising from the letter and appended factsheet as summarised in the report.


The report highlighted that as shown in Appendix C, in 2021/22 that there were no reports issued against Carmarthenshire, either upheld or not upheld.  Also, shown in the Code of Conduct figures for Carmarthenshire at Appendices E and F, there were no referrals to the Standards Committee or the Adjudication Panel for Wales.


The issues/observations raised by the Committee were addressed as follows:-


·      Reference was made to page 2 of the letter which stated that ‘The Complaints Standards Authority (CSA) has now implemented a model complaints policy with nearly 50 public bodies and delivered 140 training sessions…’.  Confirmation was sought if Carmarthenshire had been engaged in the sessions and if so at what level? The Corporate Policy and Partnership Manager, as the lead for the Corporate Complaints Team confirmed that in having implemented the model complaints policy, the Council was fully engaged and that the team had an excellent on-going working relationship with the CSA. 


In addition, the Corporate Policy and Partnership Manager stated that future consideration would be given in terms of ensuring that the Letter of the PSOW and the corporate complaints report due to come to Committee later this year, better aligned on the Committee’s Forward Work Programme.


·      It was raised that the number complaints received was cited in Appendix A and that Appendix B spilt the information further by subject, denoting which departments the complaints received were attributed to.  However, it was observed that whilst the number of cases with PSOW Interventions was represented in Appendix D, it would have been useful to receive the information in respect of the Cases with PSOW Intervention further by subject, similar to Appendix B.  It would be beneficial for the Council to receive such a breakdown in order to be able to carry out internal analysis, scrutiny and monitoring with the view to put in internal measures accordingly. 


The Practice Support Manager, Administration and Law explained that due to the requirements of data safety and the legislation under which the Ombudsman operates, the Ombudsman would not be in a position to share specific information in relation to individual cases.  The Corporate Policy and Partnership Manager informed Committee Members that the internal complaints system captured and recorded complaints in detail providing the intelligence to enable trend analysis to take place, identification of where internal intervention would be beneficial and ensure continuous monitoring.  The corporate complaints report without specific detail of individual cases, information would include the breakdowns of complaints by departments and divisions.


Committee members considered that the inclusion of a breakdown by department/subject would not be a breach of confidentiality.  It was proposed to feedback to the Ombudsman that it would be beneficial to Councils in managing complaints to include a breakdown of Cases with PSOW Intervention further by subject, similar to Appendix B - number of complaints by subject within the accompanying data to the annual PSOW’s letter.  The proposal was duly seconded.


A further proposal was raised that a copy of the minutes of this meeting be forwarded to the Ombudsman.  This was duly seconded.


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