Council's vow on care monitoring

SOCIAL services bosses in Suffolk were today promising to tighten up on monitoring outside agencies which take over care packages for vulnerable people.

SOCIAL services bosses in Suffolk were today promising to tighten up on monitoring outside agencies which take over care packages for vulnerable people.

The promise comes the day after Suffolk County Council's audit committee issued a stinging rebuke to its social care department.

The committee investigated the monitoring of social care provision after Labour councillor Kevan Lim brought its attention to a care package offered by independent provider Carewatch in September.

Mr Lim felt the audit committee's findings justified his concerns: “When I raised the issue we knew there were problems with the care packages that were being offered to clients.

“The committee has found that the monitoring of the care packages was inadequate - in fact it was almost non-existent from one year to the next.

“And there was no clear benchmark for anyone to know what they should be monitoring the care packages against - all in all it was very unsatisfactory.”

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The audit committee is due to look again at the county's social care arrangements in February, at which point it will aim to ensure improvements have been put in place.

Mr Lim asked the audit committee to investigate after being told of a constituent whose care package changed when it was transferred from the county council to Carewatch.

Elaine Grace from Carewatch said: “We are as a registered care provider always available for inspection and welcome any constructive feedback on our service.

“Immediately prior to Mr Lim's earlier comments we had been inspected and awarded a good rating.

“The client and their next of kin had no knowledge of the complaint and were as surprised as we were to hear of it.

“They did not believe there was any issue worthy of complaint and are happy with the care we provide. We understand that Suffolk County Council are reviewing their procedures concerning the handover of care packages when clients are moved to a private care provider after they have had a service provided by SCC's own staff.”

Suffolk's adult care spokesman Graham Newman there were always going to be a few people who were not happy with the level of care they received in the county but the vast majority of clients had no complaints and felt they were offered a good service.

All care providers were checked annually by the Commission for Social Care Inspections (CSCI), an independent body which ensured care packages were adequate.

Mr Newman said: “All the care providers we use have passed CSCI inspections, and it is only right to say that Carewatch's inspection was very positive.”

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