The system for challenging councils on their adult social care decisions is failing those who need it, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has warned. Inaccessible information, “complicated and stressful processes” and a lack of advocacy were undermining people’s ability to challenge local authority decisions in England and Wales, the rights regulator found, on […]
Mostly I agree with the points raised and certainly more needs to be done to make the processes more equitable and so much easier to go through. But, in many instances it is down to trust, for a good proportion of the population are scared of very large organisations and certainly those who appear to have great power, which Local Authorities, (LAs) certainly have.
Over the years I have submitted many complaints to my LA, and in the main my complaints have been upheld, but the process can be very long, so is very time consuming and exceedingly stressful.
I was caring for my daughter for going on 40 years and over time became much more knowledgeable about processes and certainly what mine and my daughters Rights were.
I studied the legislations including the Care Act 2014 and I became aware that a significant number of LA staff were not very aware of what was in the Care Act, and also became aware that in some instances the Care Act was being ignored to some extent, either by design or lack of knowledge.
That being said, in one Formal complaint, I became so incensed about the complaints procedure that I added to the complaint , a complaint about the procedure.
Only once have I progressed a complaint to the Ombudsman, but was told I submitted to them too late, even though this was due to the LA taking over a year to forward to me their final response. To have a deadline to submit, to me is totally wrong and does not take into account the stresses encountered by persons with needs and their carers which in many instances can be considerable.
Also, the Ombudsman only takes into account whether the processes were fully followed and not the right or wrongs of any decision, which again needs to be rectified. So does the opportunities to raise a Judicial Review, which over the years has been made much more difficult due to Governments making it more difficult for persons to obtain Legal Aid to fund the process, having to rely on finding a law firm to take on by ‘No Win, No Fee’.
A ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, also known as a conditional fee agreement, is an arrangement between you and your personal injury solicitor. It means that if your compensation claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay a contingency fee for your lawyer’s services.
While the Care Quality Commission is being given more powers, it should be given much more including the provision to investigate complaints.
I had the ability to understand, over the years, the process and have the strength and ability to go through the processes. At times having to explain my Right to complain by any media I wished to use, being in writing, by telephone, by email, etc and not as I was informed on occasions only on their complaint form and at times advised I would have to go through a more senior staff member, which again is untrue. So, I have had to talk through some LA staff what the process is.
Over the years I have become so much more involved with my LA, in that they call upon me to help them in various ways, as they wish to avail themselves of my ‘Expert by Experience’ knowledge and over the years have seen some improvements to some degree.
I am now 73 and took early retirement at 62 due to health, but this gave me more opportunities to be involved and I am now a regular contributor to many areas within my LA. But I have over the years become involved with my local Healthwatch, Health Authorities and many over local voluntary and Charity organisations.
I do appreciate that many others will not have the time, the strength and other requirements to do what I have and continue to do, so I do hope by doing what I do I am helping to improve what is there not only for my own family, but for many others too.
Unfortunately, over the last few years I had to deal with the death of my wife in September 2020 and my dear daughter in October 2022 and my involvement in the areas above have in many ways been helping me to deal with these losses and I have received many supporting comments from persons I am in contact with in my LA and other organisations.
To me complaining and then being involved in other ways has been, in most respects, good for me and my family and have been able to become much closer to the processes which are not easy to deal with and to know the people I am dealing with. This will not be possible for most of the population, but I do hope in time more improvements will be made.
The largest of these is funding, which since 2010 for all LAs has been well short of what is required due to Tory austerity cuts and really needs to be reversed. The government said the cuts would be absorbed through saving being made, well in most respects there were not opportunities to make saving, unless cuts to services were made, which there has been to many, if not all services, leading to great deterioration to the lives of many.
This Government and all future governments need to ensure that funding cuts are not the way forward and lead to much more deprivation and many more inequalities.
Source: Systems for challenging adult social care decisions failing, warns rights regulator – Community Care