More than half of Leeds social care ombudsman investigations upheld last year

60 percent of investigations into complaints were upheld.
60 percent of investigations into complaints were upheld.

More than half of investigations into adult social care complaints in Leeds last year were upheld, according to a new report.

An annual review of care complaints by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Michael King shows that there were 35 adult social care complaints made relating to Leeds City Council in 2017/18. Fifteen of these resulted in detailed investigations, while nine were upheld.

Leeds City Council says it is committed to learning from any complaints people have, and that it has a positive approach to handling them.

Mr King said he has become concerned about how some authorities are handling the need to cut costs while still delivering quality care.

He said: “Assessment and care planning, and how care is paid for, remain some of the biggest areas of complaint. Even more concerning is that the issues we see demonstrate a shift from one-off mistakes to problems with whole systems and policies, or procedures being incorrectly applied.

“Adult social care has seen sustained high levels of complaints upheld compared to our general work. We know authorities are operating under an enormous amount of pressure and financial challenge to deliver care services.The stark reality of this is now playing out in the complaints we see.

“Despite this, when it comes to service delivery, we simply can’t make concessions for these pressures in the recommendations we make.

“We are issuing this report because we want to work with the sector to share the wider learning and help improve services.

“Despite the problems we are seeing, I welcome local authorities and care providers’ willingness to work with us to improve services for people in their care, and the way they have complied with our recommendations over the past year.”

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “We are committed to providing the best possible service to the people of Leeds, which includes listening to and learning from any concerns or issues customers might have.

“Leeds has a robust and comprehensive procedure to ensure any complaints are thoroughly investigated and in his annual letter, the ombudsman noted Leeds City Council’s positive approach to complaints handling.

“We attempt to find a resolution where we can and when complaints are upheld, we always work with service users and our partners to find a resolution and review the way we work accordingly.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman looks at individual complaints about local public services and all registered social care providers throughout England. It conducts investigations into individual complaints in private and makes recommendations on how services can improve.