Croydon Council has received the most complaints regarding adult social care in London, and the 10th highest in England, according to an Ombudsman’s report.
In total, Croydon Council received 25 complaints on adult social care last year, some of which involving safeguarding, residential care, and local government charges.
The annual review of adult social care complaints 2020-2021 published by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman last Wednesday shows all complaints and enquiries received by local authorities in regards to adult social care.
Conservative Croydon councillor Yvette Hopley said: “The problem is the council is going through some heavy costs, but of course it is going to impact the most vulnerable and poorest in our communities.
“I am getting a number of residents who are concerned because they say they are going to be left without services and they are not sure how they are going to survive, so of course people are going to complain.
“The council have to readjust their policy to support the most vulnerable, disabled and poorest in the borough.”
The majority of complaints to Croydon Council were regarding issues of charging.
Hopley said: “I’ve had to take up a number of cases where people have been wrongly charged, and they take some time to resolve.
“I have had one case that has been going on since January.
“The issue is that they have invested in a number of things which are not within their core services, like hotels and shopping centres, and as a result they have had to reduce mental health services, care packages, and disability support.”
The categories for complaints regarding adult social care include: assessments and care planning; charging; safeguarding; transport; direct payments; disabled facilities grants; residential care; home care; supported living, and other.
In total, 2,033 complaints and enquiries were received this past year, with the Ombudsman stating that the data suggests that the pandemic has intensified existing issues rather than creating new ones.
Micheal King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “Viewed through the lens of complaints from the public, and our impartial findings, the adult social care system is progressively failing to deliver for those who need it most.
“At a time of such pressure, it is now more important than ever to listen to public concerns in the form of complaints: they provide free intelligence to spot problems and drive improvement.
“This year we have, yet again, seen families facing unexpected debts and excessive charges
“In a system that is meant to be centred on the person, we have seen families divided unnecessarily, sometimes even in the final moments of a loved one’s life.”
Croydon Council did not respond to a request for comment.