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Complaints to Ombudsman continue to rise over care provision and adult safeguarding

The recently published annual review from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has highlighted a dramatic increase in the number of social care complaints being made.

The Ombudsman, which acts as the final appeal route for all social complaints saw the overall number of complaints increase from 2,969 in 2015-16 to 3,061 in this year.

In particular the report showed a 27% increase in complaints relating to adult safeguarding for the year 2016/17 and a 16% increase for complaints relating to independent care providers.

Further, the overall number of complaints being upheld by the Ombudsman has also increased with 63% finding in favour of the complainant. This represents a 10% increase from last year’s figures.

Does this mean that the quality of care and service from Local Authorities is decreasing? Not necessarily.

Michal King of the Ombudsman welcomed the increase to the number of complaints he received concerning independent care providers. He likened the numbers to a growing “learning culture” in the profession and predicted that care agencies would begin to respond to justified complaints in a more timely fashion. There was a general trend and a “growing maturity” amongst care providers to work with families to resolve issues at local resolution first before escalating it further.

Despite this however, it was accepted that the increasing number of adult safeguarding cases being referred to the Ombudsman was “worrying”. Adult safeguarding cases, legislated for the first time under the Care Act will involve the most vulnerable in society to ensure their safety and well-being is not being compromised or exploited. It is imperative that these matters are resolved quickly, thoroughly and in an environment that encourages cooperation with all parties.

You can read the Ombudsman’s annual report in full at the following link:

http://www.lgo.org.uk/information-centre/news/2017/nov/ombudsman-highlights-the-power-of-complaints-to-improve-social-care

The Ombudsman remains an effective remedy for many social complaints and a service which, despite the increase in complaints, remains under-used by the public. At Moore Blatch we can assist with all health and welfare social care complaints and provide advice and representation with any referral to the Ombudsman.

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Nicholas Endean

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