I am writing to share with you a copy of our 2021-2022 Annual Review of Adult Social Care complaints.
It pulls together the national picture of trends and common issues that arise from our investigations. We consider complaints about adult social care providers, whether the
care has been arranged and funded privately or by the local council. In the last year we upheld 70% of cases we investigated. Although this represents a slight decrease from our uphold rate
last year of 72%, it is still far in advance of our overall uphold rate, and a significant increase on our first annual review in May 2014, where we upheld 46% of the cases we investigated.
The issues we are seeing are not new problems; the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing pressures in the system. In particular, we are increasingly seeing systemic problems caused by
underfunding. The faults we find are not usually one-off mistakes – but are increasingly caused by the measures employed by councils and care providers to mitigate the squeeze on their
resources. We see the human impact of this in the complaints which come to us, such as excessive charging, poor standards of care, and families split apart.
Care assessments, care planning and charging for care have been key features of the majority of our landmark cases this year. A common theme is councils failing to provide care, or limiting
care, while using cost as the justification. This finding is reflected by the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee’s recent report into the long-term funding of adult social care.
However, perhaps most worryingly, for the first time since 2010 we have seen a significant fall in the number of complaints we have received relating to adult social care. In 2022, we received
16% fewer complaints than two years ago. Complaints about care arranged privately fell by 21%.
We have been concerned for some time about a lack of awareness and access to our service, particularly from those receiving privately arranged social care. We set out a series of
recommendations that we believe, if implemented, would help to address this in our Triennial Review 2021-24.
Together we think these recommendations would increase awareness of, and access to, our service and therefore increase the number of people able to seek redress. This in turn would
increase the learning we are able to share, and may in turn improve the quality of adult social care services.
If you have any questions or comments about the Adult Social Care Review, or the Triennial Review, I would be happy to meet virtually with you to discuss it in more detail.
Rachel Mawby I Policy and Stakeholder Relations Manager
Listen – Understand – Communicate – Learn