Mark Whitehead 20 November 2017

Councils acting 'positively' on social care complaints

Councils and care providers implemented more than 1,300 recommendations to put things right for people who complained to the local government ombudsman last year.

In some cases the result of a single investigation led to remedies for people who had not complained, the official watchdog says in its annual report.

One person’s complaint about the way a council charged for care led to more than 60 people who had been similarly affected receiving refunds.

The ombudsman welcomed the increase in complaints received about independent care providers.

This reflected the growing importance of making the complaints process more visible and informing people of their rights.

Local government and social care ombudsman Michael King said: 'I want to highlight the power that one person speaking up can have in changing services for the better for everyone.

'Our recommendations not only put things right for individuals, but aim to help councils and care providers avoid the same problems affecting others.

'Where we think a fault was caused by a procedural or policy issue, we recommend ways to review and change those practices.'

Responding to the review, Margaret Willcox president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said: 'The report acknowledges that there has been a positive response from the sector at a time when it is facing well publicised challenges. Whilst recognising that there has been an increase in complaints over the year, the report does not directly correlate this to a dip in quality, instead welcoming the increase as a sign that the sector has listened to calls to make the complaints process more visible, and to inform people of their right to go to the Ombudsman.

#The report also notes that councils and providers have acted positively to implement recommendations for improvement and that this demonstrates a mature attitude, acknowledging fault and areas for improvement and encouraging feedback as a way of learning and improving services.'

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