Thursday, 22 October 2015

Stitching up the complaint process

"On Friday 30th October 2015 the Scottish Government closes its ‘consultation’ on the complaints procedure for its hugely controversial Named Person / State Guardian scheme."

"Those with arguments, positions and views on this illiberal and dangerous scheme should take pains to meet that deadline."

"The Government says it realises the complaint process needs to be ‘accessible, clear and straightforward’, so that people aren’t put off making complaints due to ‘overly complicated processes’. As an example of what it considers to be ‘accessible, clear and straightforward’ is online here and is worth a look. It has to be said that it is not even graphically straightforward."

"The No2NP [No to Named Persons] organisation says that the proposed complaints processes are not fit for purpose in at least two ways, citing:
‘One fundamental thing someone might want to complain about is the identity of their Named Person, for example if it is someone they do not feel they can trust. But the consultation document makes no mention of this, only talking about Named Person "functions".’

‘If a complaint is not dealt with properly, an individual will be able to have their case reviewed by the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman [SPSO]. But the SPSO doesn’t have the power to enforce its decision even if it agrees with the complaint.’ That is risible no assured protection whatsoever, leaving the appeals process quite pointless."

Actually, it gets worse. There is another problem with the SPSO complaint procedure:
Many complaints are about decisions. We cannot change a decision that has been made properly. This means we can look at how the organisation reached its decision - for example, we can check that it followed the correct process - but if the decision was made properly we cannot question it.
This means it is going to be difficult to complain about the identity of the named person and any decisions they make. All that an individual will be able to complain about is that the named person did not follow procedures correctly. (And there are plenty of them to be following. Best get a lawyer because the LA will have theirs !))

To take part in the consultation, see link below

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