Redbridge Council has dealt with 17 complaints in the past year about its adult social care provision.

The figures were released by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman this week and showed Redbridge had received six complaints about its care assessment processes and four about how it charges those using adult social care services.

Adult social care includes providing carers, at home support and care home services and respite care.

The Ombudsman report said the pressures on the system were being reflected in the complaints it received from across the UK this year.

Michael King, acting ombudsman, said: “It is no longer just one-off mistakes; we are seeing problems with systems, policies and the way procedures are being applied.”

The ombudsman said he has become increasingly concerned over the last year about the way some authorities are handling the need to balance the pressures they are under with the way they assess and charge for care.

The complaints against Redbridge Council come after a number of families were handed retrospective bills for their disabled relatives’ care earlier this summer.

Changes were made to who would have to pay for care provision at the Green Lodge care unit in Woodford and the families claimed these changes were not adequately communicated to them.

Across the UK, there has been a nine per cent increase in the number of complaints made to the ombudsman regarding charging practices for adult social care.

The ombudsman has upheld 67 per cent of all of the complaints made to it this year regarding adult social care issues this year and has made 274 recommendations to UK councils during that time, a 19 per cent increase on the previous year.

Mr King added: “We are issuing this report because we want to work with the sector to share the wider learning and help improve services.

“Despite the problems we are seeing, I welcome local authorities and care providers’ willingness to work with us to improve services for people in their care, and the way they have complied with our recommendations over the past year.”

Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said: “In the current challenging circumstances for adult social care, it is more important than ever that those in charge of running and commissioning care services actively listen and learn from people’s experiences, concerns and complaints.

“Ensuring complaints policies are accessible, that people know how to raise issues, their concerns are responded to and any promised action really does happen is all part of delivering truly responsive and well-led care.”

A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: “The council delivers a very wide range of services and despite our best efforts we do not always get it right. When we do make mistakes, the key thing is to admit them and learn from them, so we don’t make the same error again.

“We have programmes in place to improve the way we handle complaints in particular, and improve customer experience of our services in general.”