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Birmingham City Council sees sharp rise in number of adult social care complaints

A council has seen a sharp rise in the number of complaints over adult social care within the last two years, it has been revealed.

Birmingham City Council

Between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, there were 348 complaints about adult social care in Birmingham, compared to 196 the previous year.

This number covers both statutory and corporate complaints within adult social care. Birmingham City Council has indicated that the jump can be put down to a change in reporting systems, among other things.

In a full statement, a spokesman for the authority said said: “One of the main reasons for the rise in the number of Adult Social Care complaints during the period 1.4.21-31.3.22 is due to the council’s new complaints process being implemented in April 2021.

“The process was put in place to ensure that all complaints received by the council are recorded, managed and responded to by a dedicated complaints team within each directorate, ensuring all complaints are processed in accordance with the council’s complaints processes.

“Further reasons for the increase in complaints were due to issues relating to the pandemic such as hospital discharges, visiting arrangements put in place by care homes and access to day care services.”

Complaints regarding social housing repairs in Birmingham also jumped during the same period, from 3,444 complaints in the 2020/21 financial year to 5,242 in 2021/22. This is an increase of 1,798 complaints – just over a 50 per cent rise.

The management of social housing was another area to see the number of complaints go up marginally over the two years. 2020/21 saw 769 complaints received, while 2021/22 saw 810.

Despite this, upheld complaints by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman have gone down over the last two years. In 2020/21, 107 complaints about Birmingham City Council were upheld, with 100 complaints upheld one year later.

However, in the Ombudsman’s 2022 annual review letter to Birmingham City Council, it said the council was found to be at fault because ‘building works were not to an acceptable standard’ when fitting home adaptations to meet disabled children’s needs.

It added that it found ‘systematic delay’ in processing applications to the housing register, with waiting times up to 12 months. The letter goes on to praise the council for acknowledging the extent of the backlog and agreeing to the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

Birmingham City Council had 100 per cent compliance with Ombudsman advice over both years. But in both 2020/21 and 2021/22, the number of upheld complaints about the council has been 10 per cent higher than the average of what the Ombudsman calls ‘similar authorities’.

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