City of York Council failed to review an older couple’s care plans and did not follow the correct safeguarding processes.
That was the finding of a review by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).
The council arranged and commissioned home care for the couple from a care agency. From early 2020, they were both to receive five visits per day and extra support with shopping.
In summer 2021, the pair’s son raised concerns with the council about the care his parents were receiving.
The man, who was paying for the care, said he had noticed a deterioration in his parents’ conditions, and as an example said that his mother was found wandering out of the property and had to be brought back.
The man said that he sometimes had to use video cameras to find out where his mother had gone.
He continued to raise a variety of concerns, including claims the agency carers were not attending at the agreed times, and were cutting the visits short – and that the council were not reviewing the care plans.
The council eventually upheld most of his complaint, apologised for the failures and explained it would review how it dealt with disputes about care timesheets.
The couple’s son raised another complaint with the council about safeguarding processes. The council acknowledged errors made, but the man was not satisfied and so complained to the LGSCO.
The Ombudsman said the council should have done a full review in May 2021 and after the man’s mother went missing, but didn’t in either case.
The council accepted it did not follow the correct procedure for some of the safeguarding concerns, but there is nothing to suggest that the council failed to protect the parents from harm.
The council said it would look at the parents’ care account for discrepancies in care provided to decide if any further refunds are due.
The authority has already made some service improvements, but has also agreed to pay £500 in total to the man to “recognise the distress, frustration and unnecessary time and trouble he experienced in chasing the council for answers to his complaints” and for “the avoidable uncertainty the council’s faults around care planning and safeguarding caused him.”
Because the council commissioned the care, the Ombudsman treated the actions of the care agency, including any fault identified, as those of the council.
Last week it was revealed that more than 80 per cent of complaints against City of York Council investigated by the LGSCO between April 2021 and March 2022 were upheld.