Ombudsman criticises way council handled an investigation

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has criticised South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council for failing to follow its policy when conducting a safeguarding investigation against a carer.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found fault with the way the council failed to send an investigation report to the man before safeguarding meetings, meaning he was not able to correct factual errors before the council came to a decision on the allegations made.

The investigation also found the council failed to record correctly how it looked at the allegations against the man, failed to consider his complaints through its complaints process, and failed to direct him to the Ombudsman when he was unhappy with its response.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said:

“People have a right to be treated fairly during any investigation, and that includes having access to any reports written about them before crucial meetings take place.

“I now call on South Tyneside council to look again at my report and consider the actions it will take in response, to improve its processes and procedures for future investigations.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to improve local public, and adult social care, services.

In this case, the Ombudsman has asked the council to apologise to the man and pay him £400 to recognise the impact of avoidable delay, distress, uncertainty and time and trouble.

It should also provide a copy of its current procedure and say how it complies with current law and guidance and remind all relevant staff of the importance of accurately recording safeguarding meetings and decisions.

Article date: 23 March 2018

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