London care provider issued with rare warning

Good guidance practice issued care providers
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

A rare public notice has been issued by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman against a provider in London for not dealing with a complaint.

Corden Assist Ltd, trading as Bluebird Care (Wandsworth), refused to comply with the ombudsman’s recommendations to apologise to a family and pay them £200 because of failings with the homecare it provided to their relative.

The family asked the ombudsman to investigate after they said the company charged them for care their relative did not receive for three days in September 2016.

According to the family, the carer was not able to cope with the alleged behaviour of the relative, who has dementia, and asked one of the family members to help.

The operator was not able to show adequate records to the ombudsman that the care it charged for was provided. It also failed to record concerns by the carer about his ability to deal with the relative, and family members’ worries about the level of care provided.

Following the initial investigation in July, the company was asked to waive 50% of the fees for the three-day period.

It failed to carry out any of the recommendations and has instead decided to take the family to court for unpaid care fees.

Michael King (pictured), Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: ‘We have had the ability to investigate complaints about independent care providers since 2010 and it is very rare that we issue such notices of non-compliance.

‘In this case, the care provider’s initial failure to deal with the complaint properly has been further compounded by the failure to comply with the fair and pragmatic recommendations we have made.

‘I now urge the provider to think again, provide the simple remedy we have recommended, and learn from the issues raised in this complaint.’

A Bluebird Care spokesperson said: ‘Due to an ongoing legal process, we are unable to comment further on the case, at this time.’