In 2009 the Complaints process was streamlined and the ‘Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints(England)Regulations 2009, were enacted.
Of interest in F’s saga are the provisions of a number of paragraphs:
Paragraph 14 – Investigation and response
(c) where the complaint relates wholly or in part to the functions of a local authority, details of the complainant’s right to take their complaint to a Local Commissioner under the Local Government Act 1974(a); and
(d) except where the complaint relates only to the functions of a local authority, details of the complainant’s right to take their complaint to the Health Service Commissioner under the 1993 Act.
Under consideration here is the conduct of F’s assessment by his local authority for the continued provision of Adult Social Care. This assessment must be carried out in line with the Department of Health Guidelines.
These assessments can only be carried out by local authorities; decision whether to provide Care is based in these assessments. Therefore, the whole process is exclusively the function of a local authority.
F should have been referred to the Health Service Commissioner, better known as the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman by RBKC in Ms Daintith’s letter dated 18th May 2011, rather than the Local Commissioner, better known as the Local Government Ombudsman.