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Ombudsman upholds two thirds of social care complaints

02 October 2019

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has upheld two thirds of complaints about social care providers in 2018/2019.

The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about all adult social care in England and has had the responsibility of investigating complaints about privately funded care, since 2010.

In that time, the uphold rate has increased from 43% to 66%.

In his Review of Adult Social Care Complaints 2018/2019 Ombudsman Michael King says that -

“While overall enquiry numbers were broadly static last year, the adult care complaints we saw were ever more serious - reflected in the fact we had to carry out a higher proportion of detailed investigations than we did in the previous year.

Most tellingly, our decisions showed another increase in upheld complaints. Nearly two thirds of our investigations are now finding faults in the system - many of which appear to be driven by attempts to ration scarce resources.”

The Ombudsman continues -

“While I recognise the challenging environment both commissioners and providers are operating within, I am clear that any attempts to reduce costs must also properly consider the impact on the rights and dignity of people who use services and must comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Care Act 2014.”

This year, the Ombudsman received 3,070 complaints and enquiries about adult social care with 435 of those from people who fund their own care, and carried out 1,220 investigations.

The Ombudsman made 1,279 recommendations to remedy people’s personal injustices. These recommendations ranged from a simple apology to having charges reduced or removed, reassessments or case reviews.

The Ombudsman also has the power to make recommendations to improve services for many more than the people who made the original complaint – in the past year it made 559 of these, including recommendations to review policies and procedures, change practices and train staff.

Sue Bott, DR UK Head of Policy and Research said:

“Lack of resources is not a reason to treat people with disrespect. 

We urge local authorities and providers of social care to be human, be kind, be caring and be honest - it doesn’t cost anything and greatly improve the lives of disabled people.”

For more information see Challenging picture of care complaints played out in Ombudsman’s annual review from www.lgo.org.uk

See also our free online factsheet Complaining about local authority decisions Aavailable @ www.disabilityrightsuk.org