Responding to the Local Government Ombudsman report on the number of adult social care complaints, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“This report recognises that the total number of social care complaints is small compared to the millions of people receiving services. Councils will continue to work hard to ensure people have their voice heard and are confident that their council will act on any feedback.
“However, we are concerned that despite care workers’ best efforts, complaints could become more frequent as the combined pressures of insufficient funding, growing demand and extra costs mean that councils will have less money for essential social care services, such as help with washing, dressing, or getting out and about.
“It is vital for our elderly and disabled population that the Government uses the Autumn Statement to provide the funding for adult social care that councils need to ensure we have a care system fit for the 21st century. Analysis by the LGA estimates there to be a potential funding gap of at least £2.6 billion, including £1.3 billion by the end of the decade and a gap in the region of £1.3 billion now that reflects the difference between what providers say they need and what councils are able to afford.
“While we strive to ensure that everyone gets the best possible care, we must do all we can to address situations on occasions when the quality of care falls short. Councils will always seek to learn from any mistakes and share best practice, not just for the individual concerned but to continuously improve services.”
UKHCA welcomed report which they said contains an encouraging picture that more people are willing to speak out when things go wrong, when their services are commissioned poorly, or delivered inappropriately.
UKHCA’s Policy Director, Colin Angel, said:
“Councils which arrange services on behalf of their local people, and the social care providers which deliver care, must take a consistent approach to get things right first time. When this doesn’t happen, providers and commissioners must act quickly to understand and act on people’s concerns.
“As a professional association, UKHCA encourages social care providers to ensure that the people they support know that their complaints will be dealt with properly at a local level, rather than needing to seek redress through regulators or ombudsmen.”
UKHCA is encouraged that LGO has added its voice to the calls that homecare providers must be appropriately resourced in order to deliver effective care. The Ombudsman also provides a timely reminder that, despite extreme financial pressures, councils have a legal obligation to conduct assessments capable of delivering person-centred plans when they commission people’s care.