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Adult Social Care Guides Launched To Help Providers Deal With Complaints Better

OMBUDSMANCouncils and care providers are being encouraged to adopt a new statement which sets out best practice in receiving and dealing with comments, complaints and feedback about their services.

Launched this week by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and Healthwatch England, the new single complaints statement helps adult social care providers set out what service users, their families and representatives can expect when making a complaint.

Born out of the Quality Matters initiative, which aims to improve the quality and consistency of adult social care provision across the country, the statement offers a simple bulleted guide for each stage of the complaints process.

The Government recognised the value of the new single complaints statement in supporting a more consistent understanding of handling of complaints as part of its recent response to the CMA market study on care homes

Launched alongside the complaints statement is a second document created for service users to help them better understand the complaints process. An accessible ‘EasyRead’ version is also available.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said:

“I want to encourage all service providers – whether independent or council run – to adopt the single complaints statements into their own complaints policies, and highlight them in any information they give to service users, their families and representatives.

“We know the complaints system can be a real labyrinth for people to navigate, but we also know many councils and care providers have excellent procedures which help guide people through the system, and signpost them to us at the end.

“Our investigations have shown the best councils and care providers have open and reflective complaints procedures, with a learning attitude at the heart of them. These new complaints statements should be a useful tool for all providers and their complaints systems.”

Healthwatch England’s National Director, Imelda Redmond CBE, said;

“Every day social care services deliver excellent care, supporting hundreds of thousands of people to lead the lives they want to live.

“Yet we also know things don’t always go to plan, and when care goes wrong it’s vital that those running services put things right and learn from the experience. To do this people need a simple and effective way to raise concerns.

“It is well established that care users often don’t know how to speak up, sometimes feel that services won’t listen to them, and in some circumstances even fear that complaining will have a negative impact on their care.

“This initiative has been designed with professionals from across the care sector, in partnership with people receiving care, to help make the process easier for all. It sets out a clear and consistent approach to making, responding to and learning from complaints that can be applied to care homes, home care support and community based services anywhere in the country.”

The documents can be downloaded from the Ombudsman’s website at https://www.lgo.org.uk/adult-social-care/adult-social-care-resources

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