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I haven't decided yet if I'm going to follow through - I raided my mixels parts for the ball joint parts to see if they made any difference and whilst they helped a little bit, they didn't solve the problem
I now think that the friction on the ball joint is just too high in certain movements causing the plate to separate from the technic brick - the initial force required to start movement on the ball is surprising. Maybe my son's got unlucky with these particular parts but I'm surprised this was missed during review stages.
I'm hoping that the replacement does solve the problem as my boy was rather frustrated and it does go against my principles to glue lego!