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Redcar & Cleveland Council (20 012 097)

Category : Adult care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 25 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mrs B’s complaint about the Council’s communication with her. This is because the Council has apologised for the failings and any distress the poor communication caused. We could achieve no more than this even if we investigated. We are satisfied the actions taken by the Council remedy the injustice caused to Mrs B.

The complaint

  1. Mrs B complained about the poor communication she had with the Council when her late partner, Mr B was asked to leave his care home. Mrs B says she received a telephone call from the Council the day after an incident in the home where Mr B had been aggressive to a member of care staff. Mrs B was not aware of the incident and says it came as a shock to be told to find an alternative care provider for him. Mrs B is concerned no-one is taking responsibility for saying Mr B should leave the home and says the care provider said he did not have to leave.

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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 could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
  • it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome.

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

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information and documentation Mrs B and the Council provided. I sent Mrs B a copy of my draft decision for comment.

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What I found

  1. Mrs B complained about the poor communication she had received from the Council following an incident in her late partner’s, Mr B’s care home.
  2. Mrs B was contacted by the Council the day after the incident without any knowledge something had happened in the home the previous day and told to find alternative accommodation for Mr B. Mrs B was given the names of three alternative care homes. Mrs B complained about the poor communication she received, the way she was communicated with and lack of support to find a new home.
  3. The Council investigated Mrs B’s concerns and accepted communication was not of a standard it should have been. The Council apologised for the poor communication and for the upset it caused Mrs B. It advised Mrs B of the actions it has taken following her complaint and its investigation. It says it will ensure there is clear communication between professionals, clear communication between professionals and family members, an understanding of information it receives and will ensure it is documented, record information with clear and concise records of any actions required and follow up calls when there is an indication someone is upset to ensure appropriate support is offered and action taken.
  4. We could not achieve any more than this even if we investigated. We are satisfied the actions proposed and apology remedies the injustice caused to Mrs B.
  5. Mrs B complained the care provider said it did not say Mr B had to leave the home, although it contacted the GP and the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) following the incident.
  6. The Council says when it received the emergency call from the care provider it indicated Mr B would best be placed in a Elderly Mentally Infirm (EMI) home to meet his needs. The Council says the GP and care home were suggestive of this action although there is no definitive decision regarding where or when Mr B would need to move. It explained the care provider was having difficulties in meeting Mr B’s needs and his presenting behaviours. Sadly Mr B passed away a few weeks later so he did not have to move. The Council acknowledged the care provider was not requesting an urgent move so discussions about alternative placements could have been had at a later date. It apologised for the upset and distress caused by its involvement.
  7. We could not add to this or make a different finding even if we investigated. The Council has acknowledged the failings in this case, apologised and advised of the actions it has taken to minimise the risk of a similar occurrence. We are satisfied these actions remedy the injustice caused to Mrs B.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because the Council has apologised for the failings and any distress the poor communication caused. We could achieve no more than this even if we investigated. We are satisfied the actions taken by the Council remedy the injustice caused to Mrs B.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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