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Report makes damning findings about private care provider

Human rights solicitors highlight concerns about care of learning disabled adults

Posted on 24 May 2013

A Serious Case Review into the private care provider Msaada Care Services, commissioned in September 2012 by Northamptonshire Safeguarding Adults, published their findings on 16 May 2013. 

Msaada was an established provider of care services in the Northamptonshire area. Further to a number of concerns being raised about the company’s operation and numerous safeguarding alerts in 2010, the Review panel were tasked with examining the structure and management of the care agency, which is now in administration, with a view to improving practice going forward.

Whilst directed at the care provider organisation, the Review looked at the experiences of two service users to inform the process, Jonathan Smith and Adam Harris (both pseudonyms). Human rights lawyers, partner Alison Millar and solicitor Charlotte Skouby, are instructed by the family of Jonathan Smith in connection with the Inquest touching on his death and in respect of a claim, brought in negligence and under the Human Rights Act on behalf of Mr Smith’s estate, arising out of the circumstances of his death.

Charlotte has been working closely with Mr Smith’s family, who have tirelessly advocated for a wide-ranging investigation into the circumstances of his death since he tragically passed away in October 2010. Mr Smith, a young learning disabled, autistic man who was found dead in his Msaada flat, having not received visits from Msaada carers for a number of days, contrary to his care plan.

Mr Smith’s family, who participated in the Serious Case Review process, were pleased that the panel recognised in their report the extent of the failings in respect of Mr Smith’s care, noting that, “it is difficult not to reach the conclusion that the arrangements for planning, carrying out and reviewing his health and care arrangements amounted to systemic failure.”  They also welcome the panel’s recommendations for multi-agency reform, but are concerned as to the efficacy of the Review process, Msaada Care Services having not engaged in it at all.

Msaada Care Services were invited to contribute to the Serious Case Review but that neither their senior care manager nor their director provided a report. By the Review panel’s own admission, their ability to address the pertinent issues in respect of the company’s management has been limited as a result. Further, the company appears to have undergone several structural changes during the course of the period complained of, trading under various different names, with it being unclear as to whether it might still be trading in some capacity.

Alison and Charlotte were shocked to see that, even through the rigorous Serious Case Review process, it was not possible to bring Msaada Care Services to account or indeed even to establish the current status of the company and its directors.

Alison Millar said:

“It would appear that there is a legal loophole by which companies like Msaada, in respect of whom serious concerns have been raised about their fitness to provide care services, can simply dissolve themselves and then re-appear in the care sector under a different guise. We are pleased that the Review panel has referred this particular issue back to Northamptonshire Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Board for them to consider further, but it would seem to us that a national framework needs to be in place to prevent these phoenix companies from continuing to trade and putting the most vulnerable members of the community unwittingly at risk”.

The Inquest touching on Mr Smith’s death is on-going and yet to be listed for final hearing.

For more information please contact human rights partner Alison Millar or solicitor Charlotte Skouby on 020 7650 1200.