Gloucestershire Health Chiefs Slam Damning Social Care Report

A GOVERNMENT watchdog and Gloucestershire County Councillors have clashed over the care of vulnerable people following a damning report from social care inspectors last week.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) report details serious concerns about how vulnerable adults are safeguarded in Gloucestershire.

GCC’s rating for its safeguarding procedures and its use of poor, unsafe car homes has dropped from good to adequate. The CSCI said the judgement followed an inspection between last year.

The authority was also criticised for its complicated complaints procedure for reporting abuse of elderly people.

It also examined the council’s learning disabilities services, highlighting the need for improved access to information for carers and for people with learning disabilities to have more of a say in how their needs are met.

Margaret Sheather, GCC director for community and adult care, said the report failed to acknowledge that many of the criticisms were already being acted upon.

“We consider this report to be inaccurate and its judgements largely unhelpful” she said. “Many of the criticisms are not backed up by sufficient evidence, and many of the recommendations made are already being acted upon.”

An action plan to address specific recommendations has been drawn up by the county council.

Social care chiefs said the report fails to mention the county council has protected more than 600 adults in the last year where concerns of possible abuse have been raised. And the training of 6,000 staff in safeguarding adults.

Cllr Tony Hicks, GCC’s cabinet member for community and adult care, said the report did not reflect the reality of what social care in Gloucestershire was like.

“Vulnerable people are safe – and that is what matters to me – not ticking bureaucratic boxes,” he said.

GCC has also created an Alerters Guide which helps vulnerable people recognise when they are being abused or harmed.

Imelda Richardson, CSCI regional director for the South West, said GCC needed to urgently channel its energies into improving the services it provides.

She said: “The council had previously questioned the judgements made in this assessment but after scrutiny by an independent panel these judgments were fully upheld.

“The commission does not make these judgements lightly. It has carefully considered a wide range of evidence including interviews and surveys with people using services, staff and local agencies.”