FROM rescuing people with suicidal thoughts to ensuring young people with complex difficulties thrive, some Swansea Council staff are making a big difference.
Adult and children’s services received nearly 150 compliments from the public last year.
But the authority also fielded 1,676 “stage one” complaints in 2018-19 across all departments, 138 more than the previous year.
Waste management – a service everybody uses – and parks had the most grumbles, followed by highways and transport, and then housing and public protection.
Residents unhappy with the outcome of their complaints brought 153 “stage two” complaints, which was 58 more than the previous year.
But only 22 of these 153 were found to be be justified, or partially justified.
A report before a council scrutiny panel said one of the stage two complaints involved 66 individual complaints and was the most expensive investigation in more than a decade. It said 26 of these complaints were partially or fully upheld.
People who are dissatisfied with stage two outcomes can refer their complaints to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett.
There were 83 such referrals last year, of which only one was upheld by Mr Bennett, although nine were resolved by what the report described as quick fix/voluntary settlements.
The report also summarised a selection of the compliments, including one for a local area coordinator.
The grateful member of the public they had been thinking of ending their life before the local area coordinator stepped in.
“You helped me a lot, then I started to think just maybe life was worth living after all and look at me now,” they said.
“I still have my off days but not as much as I was before so thank you for giving me my life back.”
A children’s social worker was praised for a making a “very positive impact” to a looked-after child, who had taken the trouble to write a letter about their experience for visiting Welsh Government inspectors.
And a parent of a young person at the West Cross Day Service, which helps people with profound needs, thanked the “incredible” staff.
“I know from my own experience how my daughter has blossomed under the care of the people who work with her,” said the parent.
“This is entirely due to their dedication, hard work and sense of who she is and what motivates her.”
West Cross councillor Des Thomas agreed.
“What that person has said I endorse 100%,” he said.
“It’s an excellent service for vulnerable people. They really benefit from it.”