Pensioner care crisis: two thirds of alerts are not being investigated

Lourdes Keever, a member of the Social Care Alliance Haringey, far right. Photo: Polly Hancock

Lourdes Keever, a member of the Social Care Alliance Haringey, far right. Photo: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Less than one third of safeguarding alerts concerning vulnerable adults were investigated by Haringey Council last year, it has emerged.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal around 40 per cent of people receiving support had their service reviewed by the council in April to December last year – compared to 80 per cent of cases in the 2011/2012 financial year.

Just over 40 per cent had their home care reviewed, compared to almost 90 per cent in 2011/2012.

The figures have prompted criticism, amid fears social care services are overstretched.

There were nearly 3,000 safeguarding alerts made to Haringey Council from April to the end of December 2015, but less than one third of these cases were investigated. This is down from almost 50 per cent of cases investigated in 2011/2012.

The newly-released figures also show a decreasing number of social workers and reviewing officers employed by the council, with 44 in the 2015/2016 financial year, compared to 51 in 2011/2012.

This is in spite of the number of home care visits commissioned by the council going up, with more than 980,000 visits projected for 2015/2016, compared to nearly 636,000 visits for 2011/2012.

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There were 51 different private care agencies funded by Haringey Council as of December 2015.

The figures in this report are accurate up to December 22 2015, when the Freedom of Information request was sent.

When asked for a response, Haringey Council provided updated figures for some of the data up to April 2016.

There were 4,292 people receiving council-funded support from April 2015 to April 2016 and 1,925 had their services reviewed - almost 45 per cent, according to the updated figures.

There were 1,245 people receiving home care and 630 had their services reviewed - just over 51 per cent.

Haringey Council did not provide updated figures for safeguarding alerts, but they did give context:

A safeguarding alert is raised when someone is concerned a vulnerable adult may have been the victim of abuse.

All alerts are investigated, but only those which meet the threshold for a “section 42 enquiry” are investigated formally through that process.

Most alerts after initial investigation do not warrant this more detailed level of review.

In recent years the council has run proactive campaigns to raise awareness of potential abuse and to actively encourage residents to pass on any concerns they may have by raising safeguarding alerts.

- For the full story, see the Broadway edition