No response from social services

I was told on Wednesday that the care agency can’t provide care for my father next Tuesday and Wednesday morning (the carer is on leave and they have a shortage). My Dad can’t get washed or mobilise by himself- he’s entirely dependent on care. I have to work on those days (I’ve used all my annual leave up for the year and my employers have said I can’t take more time). I told the agency to speak to the council who provide the care package but don’t think they have (on two previous ocassions they didn’t, no carer was provided my dad fell and lay on the floor overnight- a safeguarding report was raised but nothing seems to have happened as a consequence). I have emailed my fathers social worker and called her four times - still no response. I know it’s not might reaponsibikity but I don’t want any harm to come to him (he’s very vulnerable). What can I do? No one is returning my calls or emails. I’d be very grateful for your advice. Thank you.

Hi Faye
Off the top of my head (not having been in that situation, ) I’d go straight to Head of Social Services, or Head of Council and demand/complain that care is urgently needed in place.
I’d also be tempted to go public, perhaps on their facebook page , or similar.

I think its too potentially dangerous a situation to follow conventional routes. These days it’s only those who shout loudest who get help.


The agency is surely obligated to provide care and the council needs to ensure they contract with agencies who can. Id contact head of social services and inform them of what you’ve been told.

I suspect the agency would really love for you to say that’s ok, and give them permission to breach their contract. Please dont let them talk you into that!

Thank you for your responses. As we’ve only recently had a similar experience (which resulted in my father being hospitalised after he fell and was on the floor all night) I have emailed the Director of Adult social care and my MP but no response. As there were no consequences for them last time they left him alone for days (just a safeguarding report raised) I think they really just don’t care. Even saying I will go to the ombudsman means nothing. I genuinely feel that they just want him to die - one less to have to spend money on. And if he did die as a result of their negligence nothing would happen because he’s disabled and old. I feel so very fed up. I love my father. I want to hold a job, to pay my bills, but it just feels hopeless. He needs support but they won’t even give him what is in their care plan. I just can’t cope and feel so alone and powerless.

Hang in there. Can you phone anyone with the council and talk to them. Emails are good for documentation but perhaps the sqeaky wheel approach might get the council to sort something out faster…

Thank you.i have been trying to speak to my fathers social worker since Wednesday- left 8 messages on Friday. I also called her manager, the service manager and director of adult social care but no response. I think they are deliberately not responding as they don’t want to deal with it. I phoned the emergency duty social worker but they wouldn’t take a record dai do had to phone his social worker. I just think they don’t want to speak to me as they don’t want the responsibility? If anything happens to him they don’t want to be involved. I am desperate and don’t know what to do- he is not safe on his own (has fallen) and won’t be able to get himself ready for dialysis which he has to go to. I feel like they are pushing me so that I have to give up work and care for him full time (not just in the evenings and weekends). It all feels so hopeless.

I am sure others have better suggestions but if were me I think I would see a solicitor. They have a ‘duty of care’ surely?

I frankly would beg you not to give up your job and do not be blackmailed into doing so.

Hi Faye, it may be useful to email your local councillor or MP, they usually can get through to social services quite quickly, this situation is wrong. The duty of care does apply to the agency, they have to provide care if it has been assessed. Very upsetting and frustrating for you, hope you get help.


You need to ring the Council Complaints Officer, or ring the Director of Social Services and talk to his PA, or ask a councillor who is a member of the Social Services Committee.

Faye, You’ve really done your best to notify the council and care company that you can’t, and shouldn’t be expected to stand in for the care company. I just wonder if the care company was testing you to see if your father could get by in a pinch, and that they have been asking other families the same question so as to lighten the agency’s load whilst they have their staff shortage.

Mum’s care agency tried the same thing with me last Christmas, asking how many of the four visits she needed over that time. I said she needed all four and that’s what she got!

It might be good to phone/email the agency and remind them that your father will require his regular visits and see what they say. They ought to know now and certainly by Monday what arrangements theyve made to cover for their lack of staff.

It’s not your problem to help them with, even though I realise you don’t need to be further stressed if anything were to happen to your dad (again).

Thank you for your replies. I finally got through to the service manager at the council who said my dad’s social worker is on leave (no out of office etc). She asked another member of the team (a different social worker) to call me. They have just phoned and I’m so annoyed. They were very abrupt- it will be impossible to get care at such short notice , can’t your dad do it himself (no he needs personal care, he can’t walk and is blind amongst other things!), can I not do it (no I have to work and have used all my annual leave - can I go sick/ get compassionate leave?- no!!!). After she clearly wasn’t getting anywhere she finally said she would speak to the Agency - that she thought my Dad didn’t need the number of hours in his care plan (they tried to cut the hours earlier in the year, we appealed and it was agreed they would stay as they are) and if the Agency were asked to do less hours they might be able to help. I don’t know what to do- I don’t want them to use this as an excuse to cut his hours…

Oh Faye,
I feel for you, its SO stressful trying to sort this out especially with social services being so unsupportive and the Agency not being able to cover your Dad’s calls. The social worker’s arguments are plain ridiculous. If this agency can’t cover the calls in his care plan, then either another agency should take over his care or worst case scenario, the care split between two agencies.

Don’t give up, carry on making a fuss ( even though it’s so stressful,) otherwise this will happen time and time again.


Thank you so much for your response. The social worker phoned back. She’s been told that the agency can’t cover my fathers care as so many carers are leaving (they do all complain about the poor pay and bad management). The social worker said she has asked if another agency can cover but thinks it will be difficult at such short notice. It’s really scary as I don’t want to loose my job but Dad is just not safe on his own.

This is disgraceful, there is no excuse for not providing care which is clearly needed. I hope you can get some help with this, I had the same when mum was discharged from hospital recently. I told them I couldn’t give the care and they put in some temporary support. The problem is people will be admitted to hospital if things go wrong, but that doesn’t come out of social services budget so they don’t care. I would suggest a complaint is made above the social workers head, I know it puts extra pressure on you but it’s the only way sometimes to get the help needed.

Take care


Just in case it’s needed … the Big White Chief … the LA Ombudsman :


The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

We are the final stage for complaints about councils, all adult social care providers (including care homes and home care agencies) and some other organisations providing local public services. We are a free service. We investigate complaints in a fair and independent way - we do not take sides.

( A Royal " We " ? )

Adult social care … link off the main page :

Adult Social Care - Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

This is tosh. If they had responded properly when you first called them they could have arranged something. It is their duty to do so and they are failing your father. You will have good case to go the Ombudsmen, but will need to follow the council’s official complaints process first, but that will be after the event and wont help Dad now.

Knowing that the ombudsmen look for any injustice caused, I wonder if you hire an agency yourself (using Dads money to pay for it) that you could then reclaim that money from Council, or if they didnt repay it , then complain to the ombudsmen. We are only looking at a few days arent we?

It will be interesting to see what they say to this idea tomorrow .
Btw, even though the agency provide the care, because it is arranged by the Council, it’s the council that is responsible for the agency’s actions, or lack thereof.
From everything you’ve said in here Dad is being very poorly served by this Council.

The council must have a Rapid Response Team, designed to keep people like dad out of hospital.

Hardly very short notice. Indeed the agency should have notified council they couldn’t fulfill their obligations days ago.

Talk about trying to wriggle out of it and make YOU solve THEIR problems!

What if you simply didn’t exist? they would HAVE to sort it then. Remind them of that. And that you have NO legal duty of care and could move to Australia tomorrow if you wanted!


That is dreadful and reminds me of the arguments I had with Social Services. Do NOT give up work to look after your dad, I know the temptation but that is exactly what the Council wants. They have a duty of care. Unfortunately you will need to play hardball to get anywhere.

If you can afford it, I would contact a solicitor (first half hour free) and ask if they could write a letter to Social Services, reminding them of their legal responsibility and your willingness to sue if your father ends up in hospital as a result of their negligence. It may cost you but may well also get the ball rolling.

In the meantime, badger them by phone, perhaps telling them that you will shortly be on annual leave and out of the country. If care is not provided and they fail in the duty of care, you will be resorting to legal measures. Could you also enlist dad’s GP to write or phone them, expressing his concern?

Good luck, I know how dreadfully stressful the situation can be.