Hounslow Council


Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Irene Bowles, Email: irene.bowles@hounslow.gov.uk 020 8583 2075 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members

Decision:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Candice Atterton, Bandna Chopra, Samantha Davies and Hina Mir.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Candice Atterton, Bandna Chopra, Samantha Davies, Theo Dennison and Hina Mir.

 

2.

Consideration of Report on Terms of Reference of Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Decision:

Resolved that:

 

1.         The Panel agreed the terms of reference for the Members’ Stage 3 Complaints Panel sub-committee, to enable the member review stage under the revised Corporate Complaints Policy, as approved by Borough Council on 14 July 2015.  The sub-committee shall be appointed with effect from 1 September 2015.  The terms of reference were:

1.1       Name of the sub-committee

The sub-committee is called the Complaints Panel sub-committee.

1.2             Appointment of members to the sub-committee

All members of the Complaints Panel are members of the sub-committee.  Each panel called to review a complaint will consist of two members of the full panel.

1.3             Nominations of members to review a complaint

Nominations will be made on an alphabetical, rotation basis, and will be administered by the Customer Relations Team.  Members who have been previously involved in any complaint, or who are ward councillors of a complainant, will not be eligible to review that complaint.

1.4             Timetable for the review

a.                  Appointment of members to the sub-committee and circulation of relevant papers shall be conducted within 5 working days of receipt of the request by the complainant to progress to Stage 3.

b.                  Within 4 working days of receipt of the papers, the sub-committee shall conduct the review.  In doing so, the sub-committee shall consider the papers only and shall have no direct contact with the complainant, the service involved or other members of the Members’ Stage 3 Complaints Pane;.  This will ensure there is no duplication of the Stage 3 panel hearing or an extension of the boundaries of the review process, as set out in the Corporate Complaints Policy and Procedure.

1.5             Determination

In conducting the review, the Complaints Panel Sub-Committee will consider the papers and determine whether a complaint should proceed to a Stage 3 Panel Hearing.  The sub-committee’s role does not extend to recommending any outcomes for the resolution of the complaint, as this is the role of the Members’ Stage 3 Complaints Panel.

 

Should the members of the sub-committee be unable to agree whether or not a complaint should proceed to Stage 3, the matter shall be referred to the Chair of the Members’ Stage 3 Complaints Panel for final determination.  The Chair would not in such a case be able to sit as a member of the Members’ Stage 3 Complaints Panel hearing the complaint.

 

Any queries and/or points for clarification that may arise on consideration of the papers by the sub-committee shall be directed to the Head of Customer Relations or such person nominated to act in his/her place. The raising of queries and/or points of clarification by the sub-committee shall not, unless there are exceptional circumstances, increase the time period for consideration by way of review.

 

Customer Relations will facilitate the complaints review process and communicate directly with members and the complainant, who shall be advised as to the outcome of the review within 10 working days of receipt of the request to proceed to Stage 3.

 

The resolution was unanimously carried.

 

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Members and members of the public to the meeting, and reminded them that Borough Council had revised the Corporate Complaints Policy on 14 July 2015.  It was therefore necessary to change the Constitution to reflect this and to agree terms of reference for the new sub-committee, for consideration by Borough Council on 15 September 2015.

 

The Chair introduced the report (attached at item 2 of the agenda), highlighting the recommendations.  Members discussed the implications of the addition of a sub-committee in terms of organisation and time constraints.  The three options in the report were considered, with Members agreeing that Option 2 was the best option, as it would give opportunity for as many councillors as possible to participate in both the sub-committee and panel hearing stages.  Members welcomed the flexibility that this option would bring.

 

Resolved: that Option 2 of the recommendations be adopted.

 

Members then discussed the time scales in the recommendations, and felt that the very short timeframe for appointing a panel might not be practicable.  It was agreed that the priority was to provide a response to the complainant within ten working days of a request to progress to Stage 3; the way in which that was achieved could be amended from that laid out in the report.  Members agreed that 3.3.1.3 in the Report should be reworded to give more flexibility.

It was also agreed that the process should be reviewed after the first case, and amended if necessary, whilst still remaining within the overall 10 day timescale. 

The Head of Customer Relations was asked to amend the wording of the terms of reference to reflect this discussion, and forward this to the Chair to sign-off.

 

Members also requested that the names of the sub-committee members reviewing any case should not be made public, and for this to be incorporated into the terms of reference.

Afterminute: Having taken advice from the Head of Governance, it has been noted that this is not permitted, and sub-committee members must be identified in paperwork resulting from the review.

 

After this discussion, it was Resolved that:

 

1.         The Panel agreed the terms of reference for the Members’ Stage 3 Complaints Panel sub-committee, to enable the member review stage under the revised Corporate Complaints Policy, as approved by Borough Council on 14 July 2015.  The sub-committee shall be appointed with effect from 1 September 2015.  The terms of reference were:

 

1.1       Name of the sub-committee

The sub-committee is called the Complaints Panel sub-committee.

1.2             Appointment of members to the sub-committee

All members of the Complaints Panel are members of the sub-committee.  Each panel called to review a complaint will consist of two members of the full panel.

1.3             Nominations of members to review a complaint

Nominations will be made on an alphabetical, rotation basis, and will be administered by the Customer Relations Team.  Members who have been previously involved in any complaint, or who are ward councillors of a complainant, will not be eligible to review that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Next Steps

Decision:

The agreed terms of reference would be presented to Borough Council on 15 September 2015 by the Head of Governance, as part of the changes to the Constitution.

Minutes:

The agreed terms of reference would be presented to Borough Council on 15 September 2015 by the Head of Governance, as part of the changes to the Constitution.