Report highlights failure by council to investigate care home complaints

A new report by Cardiff council into the background of the
troubled Hazelcroft residential home for older people has
highlighted many mistakes in the way complaints were handled,
writes Alex Dobson.

The allegation that a member of council care staff, photographed
a resident of the home naked during a holiday outing in a caravan,
sparked a series of claims and counter claims of misconduct between
staff at the home.

The council’s report now says that the focus of the
investigation was placed on the ‘perpetrator’ rather
than on the victim, a female resident of the home. It adds that if
the victim had been the initial focus of the investigation “it is
likely that a more reliable explanation of events in the caravan
would have been forthcoming at a time closer to the incident”.

It also concludes that the way disciplinary procedures were
handled was “inappropriate and detrimental to both the council and
ultimately service users. The joint review into Cardiff social
services has pointed to the way that the investigation was handled
as an example of “all that is dysfunctional within the

The allegations of misconduct first surfaced in 1999, and the
home has been at the centre of controversy over the standard of
care for residents since then.

The council allegedly dismissed senior social worker Neil White
last month because of his refusal to take disciplinary action
against a whistle blower who had worked at the home.

A independent inquiry into the running of Hazelcroft and nine
other homes for older people in south Wales is also being carried
out by the Social Services Inspectorate for Wales. A spokesperson
for the Welsh Assembly said no date had yet been fixed for the
publication of the inquiry’s findings.

The council’s report is available at (Whistle
blowing Review Home A) – see under ‘How well are people served by
Cardiff social services?’

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