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West Sussex County Council (19 018 536)

Category : Adult care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 24 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Miss X complained the Council did not consider her complaint about an advocacy service properly. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint further as there is insufficient evidence of fault.

The complaint

  1. Miss X complained the Council did not consider her complaint about Healthwatch properly. Miss X says the Council did not listen to her and as a result, she has not been able to access the NHS services she needs.

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

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered all the information Miss X provided. I have also considered the Council’s response to her complaint. I have written to Miss X with my draft decision and considered her comments

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What I found

  1. Healthwatch is an advocacy service which supports people in accessing and complaining about health and social care matters. The Council commissions the local service.
  2. Miss X complained about the service she received from Healthwatch in August 2019. She also complained in September 2019. Healthwatch responded to Miss X’s first complaint within one day and to her second complaint within a week. It sent both responses in writing. The complaints were not upheld.
  3. Miss X appealed the decisions in November 2019. A member of the Healthwatch’s Board considered Miss X’s appeal. They found the service had followed its policies and referred Miss X to the Council.
  4. The role of the Council was to consider whether Healthwatch had investigated Miss X’s complaints properly. The Council found no evidence the service had failed to follow its complaints procedures.
  5. I have seen no evidence of fault in how the Council considered Miss X’s complaint about the Healthwatch investigations.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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