By Debbie le Quesne

Is this the evidence for poor social care funding?

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I’m sorry, but the whole business of the Local Government Ombudsman seeing a 130% increase in adult social care complaints since 2009 has got to me.

I read there were almost 2,500 complaints made about adult social care to the ombudsman last year alone,

And I also learn that more complaints are made about assessment and care planning than any other issue.

Well, what a surprise! As local authorities struggle to balance their books with ever-decreasing funds for social care, something must give.

And is this the evidence? Probably. Assessments are, after all, the place where monies are spent or saved.

Last year, 442 complaints included concerns in this area, a 7% increase on the previous year, the Guardian online reports.

The newspaper highlights the case of Peter, who lives at home with his mother. He has autism, epilepsy and learning disabilities. “After his NHS funding was withdrawn, the council assessed his needs but failed to comply with its legal duty to agree an aftercare plan,” the article says.

I desperately feel for social workers because many I now acting unwillingly, I believe, as frontline auditors. What a mess we are in!

The 2013 LGO review notes, according to the newspaper, that the 2,456 complaints for that year are “a small number in the context of 1.3 million users of adult social care in England. However, 40% of the total number of complaints the LGO receives are concentrated on 25 council areas.”

As for care reviews, the report shows councils “are getting this basic obligation wrong.”

Dr Jane Martin, local government ombudsman, is quoted as saying: “Over the last few years there have been a number of reviews that have looked at healthcare complaints. We must not wait for a crisis in adult care to examine more closely the way social care commissioners and providers deal with complaints.”

The LGO received 218 complaints and enquiries from private providers, just 9% of all adult social care complaints.

The review adds that while this may reflect good satisfaction, it may also mean that the public is unclear about how and where to raise concerns.

I’m sorry to keep beating the same old drum about funding, but I’ve been saying for years that if we cut, cut, cut in the way we are doing now, there are serious consequences.

Remember: The barometer of society is measured in how we treat (indeed, fund) its most vulnerable.

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