Director of Children's Services
31 January 2012
Dear Mr Taylor
Thank you for your thoughtful and considerate letter dated 24 January 2012.
On 22 February 2011 Damon Markham sent me a copy of a document entitled "How to make a comment or complaint. Help us to help you." in which it states that, for a Stage Two Independent Investigation, there will be a response "usually within 28 days". It does go on to say "However, if it is not possible to meet this deadline, you will be kept informed and a full response will be produced within three months."
28 days is four weeks. Holidays aside, that would normally be the equivalent of 20 working days. But 28 working days would usually be 5 weeks plus 3 days which comes to 38 days. So I have no idea where the figure of 35 days, or working days, has come from. And, incidentally, 35 working days is usually 7 weeks (or 49 days). Just because someone says they will respond within 35 working days does not make it the rule.
65 working days (holidays aside) is 13 weeks which is 91 days. 91 days could be three months and is therefore approximately the same as the three months referred to in the complaints procedure.
You will understand at this point that the situation is unclear at the very least. Obviously the complaints procedure document needs updating if the rules have changed and it needs to be more precise anyway. If it means 28 working days or even 35 working days it should state that fact. It reminds me of Astrid's immortal comment "It doesn't matter because no one ever reads these documents."
All that aside Mark Hughes had not kept me informed of progress after 28 days, 28 working days, or 35 working days. It was only in response to my letter to you that he contacted me 39 working days after the beginning of the investigation.