Home helps to get a ‘tagging’ system

A NEW electronic system for monitoring Calderdale home helps should be running by the end of September.

It will mean the carers who visit 1,200 elderly and vulnerable people having to make a phone call when they enter and leave each house.

The system should make it easier to spot if users are not getting the help they and the council are paying for, said Calderdale Council’s director of adults, health and social care services, Jonathan Phillips.

The announcement follows the discovery that the council has been paying over the odds for some home care and meals on wheels.

The Courier reported how councillors are attempting to recover £118,000 from one company which overcharged the authority for care, while another was paid for meals some people never received.

Commercial confidentiality prevents the council naming any company but the main problem relates to one of six, together paid more than £5 million a year.

Problems over meals delivered to some 135 people, were made worse by a contract manager leaving the authority and a failure to appoint a replacement.

Councillors were told that the job had to be shared among other staff and was “not seen as an immediate priority.”

Mr Phillips said: “Whenever we find there are mistakes some people might want to question our reputation but the council is a very large and complex organisation and we have been very open about what happened and we are sorting it out.

“I hope that will reassure people we are taking this seriously and we are not trying to hide anything,” he said. The council’s audit committee has asked for a detailed progress report in September.

During the six months ending in March, the council received nine formal complaints about home-care services, involving all six companies and agencies.

“The majority related to missed or late visits due to demands on workers earlier in the day,” according to Kevin Jones, the council’s health and social care complaints manager.

People with complaints can report them on 0845 111 1103.