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Health Act 2009

Part 3.Miscellaneous

Adult social care

61.An issue raised in the House of Lords during the debate on the Health and Social Care Bill (now the Health and Social Care Act 2008) was that users of adult social care that has been arranged or funded privately do not have recourse to an independent complaints procedure. A government commitment was made in Parliament(24) to address this matter at the next legislative opportunity.

62.The Government’s objective was to enable the Local Commission for Administration (the LGO) to investigate complaints made by people whose adult social care is not arranged or provided by a local authority. This group comprises people who arrange or pay for their own care, estimated to be about 35 per cent of adult social care service users, and also those who are given direct payments by local authorities to purchase their own adult social care services.

63.People whose care is funded and arranged by a local authority have access to the existing statutory local authority social services complaints procedure, under the Health and Social Care Act 2003, and have the right to refer their complaints to the LGO if they are dissatisfied with the local authority’s response. During 2007, Department of Health Ministers became concerned, as a result of representations made by stakeholders, that the arrangements for people arranging and paying for their own care were unsatisfactory and that such people should also have access to independent investigation of their complaints. The Government therefore gave a commitment in Parliament to address this issue.

64.The LGO is responsible for investigating complaints of injustice arising from maladministration by local authorities and certain other bodies. The LGO comprises three Local Commissioners, and they each deal with complaints from different parts of the country. They investigate complaints about most council matters including housing, planning, education, social services, consumer protection, drainage and council tax.

65.The Act inserts a new Part 3A into the Local Government Act 1974 (the 1974 Act), the legislation that established the LGO. Part 3A creates a new scheme, which extends the remit of the LGO to include the investigation of complaints about adult social care not arranged or funded by a local authority. The new scheme is largely modelled on the existing legislation for investigation of complaints concerning local authorities in Part 3 of the 1974 Act.

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