Confidential: Case ID - 17020182 CCR 8355 (LGO PUBLIC REPORT)
- Meeting of Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee, Tuesday, 11th June 2019 6.00 p.m. (Item 5.)
A report by the Lead Commissioner for All Age Independence informed that the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) had investigated a complaint about the Council and found the Council to be at fault. It had made a number of recommendations that had been accepted in full. The Ombudsman had made the decision that the report would be published. In accordance with the recommendations the report was being considered by the Cabinet and this Committee. The report sought to set out the action that had been taken, or would be taken, to avoid similar faults in future and to meet the recommendations of the report in full which had been accepted. The findings and recommendations were specific to the adult social care case that was investigated.
This was a confidential case so the report referred to Mr X, as the son of the former service user, and for ease of reference the same approach had been taken in this report.
The care and support package had been inadequate on this occasion and the Council had taken an inordinate amount of time to investigate the complaints. Consequently, 50% of the care fees had been waived to remedy the financial loss that had been caused. A payment of £200 had been made as a remedy for the frustration and stress caused. Assessment staff, complaints staff and operational teams had all received the appropriate training (a two day course) around safeguarding led by an independent Safeguarding trainer from the university and a full apology had been offered. The Council had also referred the case to the Merseyside Safeguarding Adults Board with a request that it considered holding a formal review. This action had been taken and it had been referred to a Sub-Committee of the Merseyside Safeguarding Adults Board and a recommendation had been made to the independent Chair of the Board that this matter be put on the agenda for the meeting on 26 June 2019. The Council had also reviewed its complaints handling process, appointed additional resource to that team and it was now performing better on handling complaints.
The Assistant Director – Health and Care Outcomes was in attendance at the meeting and answered Members’ questions on the specific care and support package concerned, domiciliary care and the care provider, the detail of the complaints made, safeguarding arrangements, the subsequent actions that the Council had taken and the resulting changes that had been brought about to ensure nothing like this happened again.
Members registered their extreme disappointment over what had happened on this occasion. It was a very sad case and they hoped that lessons had been learnt as a result. They could see parallels going back to 2010/11 when there had been an issue of overcharging vulnerable people which had come to light. The Council this time had either not provided the correct level of care or it had overcharged the person concerned. A refund was now being made and Members wanted to know whether the costs of the refund had been claimed back from the trusted care provider because that provider had not provided what the Council had paid them to do. The Assistant Director informed that the Ombudsman’s findings were largely in relation to safeguarding processes not being identified and invoked early enough and not completed along with the fact that the Council should have reviewed the case to make sure that the right level of care was being provided. He agreed that it was a fair question to ask the care provider for some consideration and ask it to respond accordingly. The Assistant Director was unsure as to whether this had been done so agreed to look into it.
A Member enquired whether there had been any suspicion that the gentleman’s care needs had not been met and that he had been in any way neglected. The Assistant Director informed that the answer was yes because the care provider had not been providing the level of care that was required. There had been some quality issues with the care that had been identified and detail of the exact specifics had been included in the report, some of it had been related to practice around using a hoist, moving and handling techniques amongst other things. Genuine concerns had been raised by the complainant about the quality of care that should have been investigated more thoroughly as safeguarding issues.
The Assistant Director confirmed that in respect of this case it had been identified that there had been a consistent under provision of time and care as well as quality issues.
Members requested the Assistant Director to present the report to the Adult Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee were it could be explored in detail and he informed that he would consider this request and let the Committee have confirmation in due course. The Assistant Director would also let Members know whether or not the care provider (as a company in any form) was still providing care packages and whether this had been an isolated case or not. He was, however, confident that the Council had arrangements in place with its current providers to hopefully avoid similar cases in the future.
The Assistant Director informed that the Service Quality Performance Reports were in-depth and were submitted regularly by providers as part of the contract monitoring arrangements to the Team who worked alongside the Council’s Quality Improvement Team. Jointly they were looking at contractual compliance and quality of provision. He was happy to share this information and suggested that perhaps the Health and Care Panel could receive these reports. However, he did have to be mindful that sometimes that information was commercially sensitive.
The Assistant Director reported that the Council performed well on its review targets for all those supported in Wirral with care and support packages. The reviews were inclusive of family members, representatives and the people themselves. All the Council’s processes had set areas to record the views of carers and representatives, to make sure they were captured and this was the same in respect of assessments too. When people were first seen their views, their representatives and those of their carers were all noted. This was regarded as being very important. The trusted assessor process with providers had this built in and their views were taken on board. The Council was pushing its online self-assessment and self-review so people could access information and make their views known as well as request reviews if they thought the circumstances had changed. Uptake was very low but it was another avenue that the Council could use.
That the report and actions that have been or will be taken, in response to the Local Government Ombudsman’s recommendations be noted.