Vulnerable people are being forced into situations against their will because care providers are not going through the proper process, according to a new report.
In its report, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said councils and care providers were failing to understand important aspects of the Mental Capacity Act.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “The people who these measures are designed to protect are all too often being let down by poor practice. And, while I appreciate the complex emotional and practical decisions social workers need to make, the people they look after are still entitled to be treated fairly, and have their assessments undertaken correctly and in a timely manner.
“People should have the right to make choices for themselves unless they have been assessed as not having capacity. We have issued this report to highlight where things are going wrong, so we can help authorities get things right and improve services for people.“
The report highlights a number of incidents relating to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) system. In one case, a man was moved to a care home 15 miles away from his family without formal capacity assessments.
The Ombudsman investigated 1,212 adult social care complaints in 2016/17, with 20% of these concerning mental capacity or DoLS.
More than two-thirds of these cases (69%) were upheld following investigation.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care said: “Care England welcomes the LGO’s report. We encourage providers to read it in the spirit of learning lessons.
“We have in the past produced a guide for Boards of providers with questions to ask on the Mental Capacity Act and we are going to produce this year a care planning guidance for members with a focus on the Mental Capacity Act.”