North Yorkshire County Council improving over handling of social care complaints

PHOTO: Quality Care Campaign

North Yorkshire County Council has pledged to continue to improve its handling of social care funding contributions following a visit from a Government watchdog who concluded the authority was willing to learn from past mistakes.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “My office has twice threatened North Yorkshire County Council when we issued a witness summons last year after long delays answering complaints, but this year we have received apologies from the authority following these delays.”

Mr King said while the handling of complaints in the council’s health and adult services department remained a concern, he was optimistic and believes next year his office will see an even better picture given the improvements the council had put in place.

The first report published involved failings in the council’s adult social care financial assessment, in which the council was unable to demonstrate it considered all the facts surrounding how much a care home resident should pay towards their fees.

The second and third reports concerned confusing and conflicting information the council gave to families about financial arrangements for paying care home fees.

“I’m encourage by how the council has enacted most of the recommendations from the ombudsman’s findings and learned from them to improve services,” said Mr King.

Councillor Greg White, the authority’s performance management boss, said: “We are pleased the ombudsman has recognised the improvement in our performance from the previous year, but we still have a way to go.

“We obviously want all our customers to receive a good service, however we need to be careful with public money and sometimes will have to make tough decisions.”

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