Families 'being let down' over Bradford Council social care helpline

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Councillor Michael Walls Councillor Michael Walls

One in three people phoning a Bradford Council helpline to request social care are not having their calls answered, according to a new report.

The situation has been branded “appalling” by one member of a scrutiny committee which is poised to look into the issue.

The Council’s Adult Services Access Point acts as a first point-of-call when an elderly or disabled person needs social care help.

People phoning up include the elderly and disabled people themselves as well as neighbours, GPs, relatives and even the police.

But the number of calls going unanswered is growing year-on-year.

The team’s target is to answer at least three-quarters of calls. In 2010/11, it answered 73 per cent, in 2011/12 it answered 64 per cent and in 2012/13 it answered 63 per cent.

Problems with the phone line were flagged up a year ago and an action plan was put in place, but since then the situation appears to have got worse.

Last month, a new low of only 58 per cent of calls were being answered. On average, 2,600 calls go unanswered each month.

The issue will be discussed at a meeting of the health and social care overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday.

Councillor Michael Walls (Con, Queensbury), who sits on the committee, said: “The arrangements for answering these calls need vastly altering. It’s appalling really.

“You would expect there would be some urgency to these calls. I think it’s awful that somebody’s having to wait.”

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley), also a committee member, said she thought it was a symptom of a wider problem within the Council’s adult services department.

She said: “What we are seeing is a crisis in social care in Bradford. More and more people are trying to get help and more and more families are being let down.”

Councillor Amir Hussain, the executive member for adult services on the Labour-run Council, said more staff had been taken on to deal with calls.

He said: “We have just appointed three more staff to work with the team. They are just going through their inductions as we speak.”

But he said the team were increasingly having to deal with more complex requests, which took time, and were also having to deal with a huge rise in the number of inquiries being made by e-mail.

Comments (3)

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8:56am Mon 10 Feb 14

G_Firth says...

Totally unacceptable in the speed of which this has come to light and goes to show the apathetic mentality of the situation.
It's not just the calls its the whole system that needs a full overhaul.
One wonders if they are even aware that people are now having to wait up to 6 months to be assessed for their needs and in some cases even longer.
Plus even then after they have been assessed and their needs change and they need a new item or level of care they have to be reassessed which you guessed it takes another 6 months.
These people are the most vulnerable in our society, some of which can't speak for themselves and they are being treated in the worst way possible.
Totally unacceptable in the speed of which this has come to light and goes to show the apathetic mentality of the situation. It's not just the calls its the whole system that needs a full overhaul. One wonders if they are even aware that people are now having to wait up to 6 months to be assessed for their needs and in some cases even longer. Plus even then after they have been assessed and their needs change and they need a new item or level of care they have to be reassessed which you guessed it takes another 6 months. These people are the most vulnerable in our society, some of which can't speak for themselves and they are being treated in the worst way possible. G_Firth

11:20am Mon 10 Feb 14

Steve30d says...

Wasn't too long ago the council was winning awards for the efficiency of the assesment processes done at Fieldhead Buisness Center
Wasn't too long ago the council was winning awards for the efficiency of the assesment processes done at Fieldhead Buisness Center Steve30d

4:14pm Mon 10 Feb 14

alive and awake says...

Who has decided 75% should be an acceptable target? I think it is pathetic, and the fact they can't even manage that is woeful and quite frankly not good enough. They should be looking at 95-97%
An action plan was put in place, but things have got worse. LOL if it wasn't so serious, it would be funny.
Good to see Clr. Walls is still about, I was beginning to wonder where he had gone.
Who has decided 75% should be an acceptable target? I think it is pathetic, and the fact they can't even manage that is woeful and quite frankly not good enough. They should be looking at 95-97% An action plan was put in place, but things have got worse. LOL if it wasn't so serious, it would be funny. Good to see Clr. Walls is still about, I was beginning to wonder where he had gone. alive and awake

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