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Ombudsman responds to EHRC report

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King has responded to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's inquiry into Adult Social Care, published yesterday.

Evidence published by EHRC in its report has revealed local authority processes are confusing and slow, with risks that people do not get the care they need. Social care users, and their loved ones, find making complaints difficult and stressful, often at a time when they are in crisis.  

Mr King said:

“We welcome the EHRC’s latest report which echoes the issues we regularly find in our investigations about adult care services, of which we uphold more than two thirds.

“People have a right to good quality care that respects their basic rights to dignity, autonomy and fair treatment. If things go wrong, there should be transparent, effective and accessible procedures in place for people to challenge decisions made by their local councils. But we know this is not always the case, which is why we have been calling for statutory signposting to our service. As the newly-empowered statutory complaints standards authority, we would ensure complaints were dealt with clearly and consistently across the country, and that lessons from complaints were properly scrutinised and embedded.

“We have previously highlighted our concerns about the erosion of effective local complaints processes and the particular challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing the complaints process. The Commission’s report confirms the problems we are finding with access for people with communication needs as we increasingly look at complaints through the lens of human rights.

“The Commission has made a number of pragmatic recommendations which support the powers we have been calling on the government to give us, including the ability for us to carry out investigations where we think there is unremedied injustice regardless of whether we have received a complaint.”

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