Concern After Complaints Over Private Home Care Services

Social Services chiefs in Leeds have received 114 complaints about home care services provided by private companies. Part of the city’s home care work is contracted out to the private sector and figures presented to councillors show that between April last year and January this year, the council received a total of 114 complaints about services provided by six companies.

The council’s health and adult social care scrutiny board – a watchdog body – were told many complaints were about irregular visiting patterns, missed calls and shortened visits.

A report to the board said that last year inspections by the Government-backed Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) had also identified some problems with three of the companies – Anchor, Jays and Springfield. It said the companies had put plans in place to tackle the problems before further inspections.

Coun James Lewis (Lab, Kippax and Methley) said he was concerned by the figures and called on the council to suspend the letting of any further contracts and to carry out a review of its process of appointing private sector providers. He said: “We should stop any new contracts until we get the procurement right.”

The report said that in overall terms, the performance of the providers in recent months was judged to be adequate.

Dennis Holmes, social services’ chief commissioning officer, said the number of complaints was relatively small compared to the number of people receiving services.