Home care contractors late notices revealed

7:00am Monday 8th April 2013

By Jon Sharman

The names of 11 care agencies slapped with non-compliance notices for failing to fulfil aspects of their contracts have been revealed.

Kingston Council handed out 69 notices between April 1 last year and the end of January this year, mostly for missing calls but also for infractions like lateness and carers not staying at appointments for the allotted time.

The council released the list in response to a freedom of information enquiry.

An officer initially said: “We do not feel it appropriate under Data Protection Act 1998 legislation to provide the names of individual care agencies.”

But a request for clarification brought the names to light.

Two of the agencies, Squirrels Direct Care Services and Supreme Care Services, were awarded 10-year council contracts in 2006, according to the London Contracts Register.

Lin Hill, council commissioning manager for home care, said non-compliance issues were resolved within 24 hours, and are not formal complaints.

She said: “This is just looking at ways to improve our service. If people are running late we need to know why people are running late.

“If it was something of a serious nature it would be down a completely different route.”

Six formal complaints regarding home care were recorded in 2011/12, the council said. Five related to in-house services, and one to an outside agency.

Carl Ward, owner-director of Caremark Kingston, which received 13 non-compliance notices, said: “Those non-compliance notices are, if you like, a friendly slap on the wrist that says there has been a minor infraction but constructively do something about it.”

Beverley Smith-Pouliasis, manager of Heath Lodge Care Services, said: “Home care is difficult because you are employing people based on trust – sometimes that is difficult to police.

“You can do as many spot checks in the world but you can’t stand over everyone.

“At the end of the day we are all here trying to deliver a good service.”

African Positive Outlook 3
Alma Care 1
Alpenbest Care 3
Blue Ribbon Community Care 1
Caremark Kingston 13
Carewatch (Kingston) 5
Clarendon Home Care 4
Eleanor Nursing and Social Care 1
Health Lodge Care Services 2
Squirrels Direct Care Services 6
Supreme Care Services 16

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