The new guidelines for the conduct of Adult Social Care Assessment, the “Prioritising need in the context of Putting People First: A whole system approach to eligibility for social care Guidance on Eligibility Criteria for Adult Social Care“, must be followed by all local authorities in the conduct of these assessments.
Paragraph 107 provide for the possibility to complain should a service user be unhappy with the conduct of the assessment. When the local complaints process is exhausted, the service user may complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, or as he is now called the “Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.”
F had indeed completed the local complaints process and ended up lodging a complaint with the LGO, as addressed on the LGO page.
However, there is NO mention of who is responsible for the oversight of the conduct of these assessments and independent external audit of local authorities’ compliance with the Guidelines. We could NOT find any information relating to this element of assessment. This would suggest that local authorities can conduct assessments in a fashion completely suitable to their agenda. In order words, assessments could be fixed to suit a particular situation, without any fear of eventual audit and possible retribution, as none of these exist.
Serious questions exist with the interpretation of paragraph 54, which lists the four Grades: Critical, Substantial, Moderate and Low. It would appear that each local authority can interpret these as they feel fit. Therefore, inconsistencies may/do exist and the decision of grading may be a matter of a “postcode lottery”, devoid of any consistency in social care provision.
One of the conditions of the ‘Critical‘ grading to be satisfied is if “life is, or will be threatened and significant health problems have developed or will develop...”
Who is to assess these elements? A Social Worker, who has no medical qualifications and is expected to assume the role of God, to venture and hazard a guess “when significant health problems will develop?” Today, next week, next year, when? This is vague, that, frankly, any member of the human race will in theory qualify for this definition, as eventually, whenever, we will suffer ill health, of some sort.