Notts Council action plan after ombudsman complaints upheld – including over Mansfield care home resident found with bruises

Nottinghamshire Council has outlined its plan to address concerns after several complaints were upheld by the local government ombudsman – including about a Mansfield care home.

By Andrew Topping
Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 4:54 pm

The watchdog received 14 complaints against the authority between June and August 2021, choosing to take no action on eight and issuing verdicts on the remaining six.

Five of the complaints related to council-run adult social care, including a historic complaint from 2018, when the relative of a Mansfield care home resident was barred from visiting his mother after finding her with bruises.

This complaint was issued as a public notice by the ombudsman, which said Berry Hill Park care home’s decision to ban him was ‘not in line’ with regulations.

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Berry Hill Park care home, Berry Hill Lane, Mansfield.

The council-commissioned home, on Berry Hill Lane, has since apologised for the incident, stating it ‘in no way represents’ its current care provision after a new manager implemented ‘positive changes’ .

The council has since offered the relative a £650 payment to reflect the ‘distress’ caused, while a letter was also sent to ‘acknowledge the failures’ of the council and the provider.

As part of its wider response, the authority has reminded staff about the processes of excluding people from a home, the importance of risk assessments and provided training about anti-discriminatory behaviour.

Further action will be taken later this year regarding policies handling relatives, as well as communications with families on safeguarding to ‘avoid any further distress’.

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The issues were discussed as part of the council’s governance and standards committee.

Councillors were provided with a report from the ombudsman detailing the upheld complaints, as well as the action required to rectify concerns.

Other complaints upheld against the council included issues with funding for care provision.

Coun Pauline Allen said: “Every complaint is not only a marker of dissatisfaction, but tells a story of people often struggling to access the most basic support.

“While I appreciate these complaints are occasionally unavoidable, I have observed a trend over the last couple of years of upheld complaints, which reflect poorly on our service.”

Jo Kirkby, team manager of the council’s complaints and information team, referenced a separate ombudsman report for 2020-21, which found the watchdog upheld 54 per cent of complaints against the council across the year, lower than the 71 per cent average for similar authorities.

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