Michael King, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, has responded to the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) Care Homes market study.
“Our Annual Review of Adult Social Care Complaints has recently highlighted that many care providers have been working harder to make their complaints processes more accessible and telling people they can come us to resolve any lasting disputes.
“But there is more work to be done, and we welcome the CMA’s recommendation for statutory signposting to us, which would place the onus firmly on care providers to make this right known to their service users. This already exists in other parts of the UK and we have called for it in England for a number of years.
“Our casework shows there is a need for better information to be made available to service users and their families, particularly around care charges, to allow them to make informed choices about care. We are pleased to see the report call for this, and an important review of advocacy support. Better access to advocacy services, as the CMA has recognised, would also help improve the current system for people receiving care.
“We know many people simply give up after they have been through the local complaints process even if they remain unhappy. Care staff should be empowered to provide swift and proportionate responses so as not deter people from pursuing their concerns.
“Above all, we want to see a culture shift in the approach to complaints. We know the best councils and care providers empower their workforce to deal with complaints and to view them as free feedback and an opportunity to learn from their mistakes – and those of others – to drive service improvements. This can only be done by taking ownership of complaints, and their outcomes, at the highest level.”
Article date: 30 November 2017