Services for vulnerable adults (eg with learning difficulties. or with mental health issues)
Ceredigion County Council
Mr A complained on behalf of his son, Mr B, who lives in a residential home for adults with additional needs. The other residents of the house receive support from a Support Service (“the Support Service”) which is funded by the Council. Mr A complained that a staff member from the Support Service visited the home and assisted the residents to complete their census form while in a group, and Mr B felt pressured into providing personal information in front of the other residents.
The Council’s Social Services department contracted an Independent Investigator to undertake a formal Stage 2 Investigation, which resulted in several recommendations, including that the Support Service staff member should be removed from supporting the individuals within the home, and that a full safeguarding investigation should take place to establish (in light of comments made by the staff member during the course of the investigation) whether there was bullying within the house. The Council’s Stage 2 complaint response referred to these recommendations. It said that a referral had been made to the Council’s safeguarding service, but stated that it could not influence how the Support Service managed its staff. It later confirmed to the Ombudsman that a Professional Concerns Meeting had taken place under the All Wales Safeguarding Procedures which concluded that a full safeguarding investigation would not be warranted or proportionate. Mr A complained to the Ombudsman that the Council had not followed the recommendations made by the Independent Investigator, and had not told him of the decision that a full safeguarding investigation would not take place.
During the evidence gathering stage of the Ombudsman’s investigation, the Council proposed a voluntary settlement that included arranging formal meetings between the Council and the Support Service to discuss the complaint and between the Council and Mr A and Mr B, to explain its safeguarding decision, discuss any additional measures that would facilitate future learning, and provide a direct apology for the lack of communication after the conclusion of the investigation. The Ombudsman considered that the action which the Council said it would take was reasonable and a proportionate approach to resolving the complaint. The complaint was therefore discontinued on the basis that the Council would hold the meeting with Mr A and Mr B within 12 weeks of the date of the investigation decision.