Social care complaints increasing in numbers

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

SIX complaints relating to Wigan Council’s adult social care provision were upheld last year, according to government figures.

A report from the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) reveals that the town hall dealt with 17 complaints in total, 10 of which required investigation.

Council bosses said the figures reflected their policy of encouraging service users to formally record any concerns.

Stuart Cowley, director of adult social care, said: “The care and safety of our residents are our number one priority and we are committed to working with our partners and providers in the borough to raise and maintain high standards of care.”

The borough’s adult social care provision has been subject to sweeping reforms in recent years with a move away from residential care toward individually tailored care.

The LGO figures show Wigan has a rate of 5.3 complaints per 100,000, two of the 17 cases were closed after initial enquiries and five were referred back for local resolution.

Mr Cowley added: “We have actively encouraged people to feedback any complaints they have as it is only when we know about people’s concerns that we can do something about it.

“We strive to ensure high quality care services and always fully take on board feedback from complaints and review procedures where necessary.”

In comparative terms, the previous statistics for the calendar year 2013 showed 10 complaints, five were upheld.

Prof Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “We are pleased to learn from the LGO that more people are exercising their right to report issues with their social care.

“We agree that the best care is carried out in an open culture where complaints can be dealt with between staff, service users and families.”

He added: “Importantly, this report highlights that poor communication is the cause of many complaints, and we would like to see local authorities communicating effectively to avoid situations where people’s care is affected and they are left confused.

“This is especially pertinent for complaints about the funding of care: local authorities must ensure that service users don’t experience delayed assessments or 15 minute care visits.”