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London Borough of Hounslow (18 005 034)

Category : Adult care services > Domiciliary care

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 14 Mar 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaints about the way he was treated by his care provider. This is because he could not add to the Council’s response or make a different finding even if he investigated.

The complaint

  1. Mr A complains about his previous care provider. Mr A says:
  • Carers were not punctual
  • Carers did not stay as long as they should have;
  • The care provider did not tell him they were going to be delayed and failed to return his calls;
  • Carers refused to complete all requested care tasks;

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
  • it is unlikely we would find fault, or
  • the fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained, or
  • the injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement, or
  • it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
  • it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome, or
  • we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I discussed the concerns with Mr A and considered the information and documentation he and the Council provided. I sent Mr A a copy of my draft decision for comment.

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What I found

  1. Mr A complained about the care he received from his previous care provider.
  2. Mr A complained about the time carers called and the length of time carers stayed.
  3. The Council investigated Mr A’s complaints and provided him with a record of calls between June and July 2018 (the period he complained about). It said of the 83 calls he received 78% were delivered on time or within the hour either side tolerance allowed for visits. 56% of the duration of the calls were correct and in some cases longer.
  4. The care provider was unable to say why the rest of the visits were short other than some carers refused to attend because they felt threatened and uncomfortable in the premises which impacted on rearranging care. The Ombudsman would not be able to add to this or say whether any injustice was caused to Mr A by the shorter visits was because of the care provider’s actions when carers felt uncomfortable. The Council arranged a different care provider so there is no ongoing injustice for the Ombudsman to consider.
  5. Mr A complained that his care provider did not call him when he asked them to, or respond to his calls when carers were late. The care provider says it did contact Mr A but it often resulted in him swearing and shouting at them. The Council explained in its response to Mr A that it had ‘obviously been a fractious relationship between yourself and the care agency. Most of the allegations are impossible to substantiate due to the lack of detail given as to when they occurred and who was involved’.
  6. The Council has explained to Mr A the difficulties with the care provider responding to his calls. The Council has now warned Mr A about restricting the volume and lengthy contact he has with the Council. The Ombudsman could not add to this or make a different finding even if he investigated.
  7. Mr A now has a different care provider which he says he is not satisfied with. The Council says Mr A should contact the agency directly and try to find alternative solutions where possible. The Council has acknowledged this is difficult and says although teams do their best to try to meet his expectations it seems that the remedies that have been offered are not to Mr A’s satisfaction. Mr A should try to engage with his care provider to resolve his concerns. If he is unable to do this he can formally complain to the Council. If he remains unhappy with the Council’s response he can ask the Ombudsman to consider it further.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because he could not add to the Council’s response or make a different finding even if he investigated.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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