Criticism over elderly care

CARE packages for some older people in Suffolk have come under fire from monitors checking on how the system works.Suffolk County Council's Audit Committee has met to consider a report on the monitoring of care for older people at home provided by external contractors.

CARE packages for some older people in Suffolk have come under fire from monitors checking on how the system works.

Suffolk County Council's Audit Committee has met to consider a report on the monitoring of care for older people at home provided by external contractors.

In September Labour member Kevan Lim raised issues concerning complaints he had received from a constituent regarding Carewatch, a care providing agency in Ipswich.

The council therefore called upon the Audit Committee to conduct an urgent investigation into the Council's management of the contract to ensure that the contracted standard of care was being delivered.

Mr Lim welcomed the findings and said: “The session made it clear there were many concerns about the council's monitoring and there seemed to be complacency among senior managers.

“The committee found that a contract had expired and no one had noticed.There was a lack of action once initial concerns were raised and there were many issues over monitoring the contract.”

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Mr Lim said he and his colleagues would be monitoring what happened about the recommendations over the next few months.

Committee chairman John Klaschka said: "The committee expressed its concern at the issues raised by the audit and inspection reports.

"It made clear its expectation that officers will produce plans and timetables and put these into action to address the issues brought to light. The Council must do better in the way it manages its contracts."

The committee has asked the assistant directors responsible to report on progress to its February 2008 meeting and its chairman to meet with officers in the meantime to monitor progress.

It is understood that Carewatch had received a good rating from the government's Commission for Social Care Inspection and that Suffolk County Council had not received a large number of complaints about the company before the problems which the Audit Committee considered.

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