Sunderland City Council (23 005 222)

Category : Adult care services > COVID-19

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 16 Aug 2023

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint he could not visit his father, Mr Y at his assisted living complex during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. That is because this is a late complaint.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained that he was not allowed to visit his father, Mr Y between March 2020 and August 2020. He said the Care Provider where Mr Y lived failed to follow the Government Guidance on primary carers. He said because of this, Mr Y did not receive the personal care he needed.
  2. Mr X said the Care Provider’s actions have had a profound affect on his mental health.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate late complaints unless we decide there are good reasons. Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to us about something a council has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D, as amended)
  3. We investigate complaints about councils and certain other bodies. Where an individual, organisation or private company is providing services on behalf of a council, we can investigate complaints about the actions of these providers. (Local Government Act 1974, section 25(7), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint he could not visit Mr Y between March 2020 and August 2020 because of COVID restrictions. The events he complains of occurred three years ago, therefore this is a late complaint and we should not investigate. It was reasonable for Mr X to complain to us sooner if he was unhappy with the Care Providers response to his complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because it is late.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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