Cases of Complaint According to the Social Services Act 2006
Summary of Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 7/2007
The Office of the County Governor is the administrative appeal body for complaints according to the Social Services Act. In 2006, these offices dealt with 5 351 complaints. This report describes the types of cases dealt with, the results of the complaints, the reasons for the decisions, and the time taken from when the complaints were received at the Office of the County Governor until the administrative procedures were completed. The report presents comparisons of the counties/the Offices of the County Governors in relation to the population, and the trends over the last few years.
The Social Services Act came into force in 1993. Statistics about cases of complaint are available from 1995. Fewer cases of complaint were received and dealt with in 2006 than in 2005. With the exception of 2000, in 2006 the Offices of the County Governors dealt with fewer cases of complaint according the Social Services act than in any other year.
Three of four cases of complaint were about economic assistance. Examples of such cases are complaints about the amount of economic assistance and more specific complaints about economic assistance for accommodation, clothes, dental treatment, medicine, furniture, travelling expenses and other expenses. There were also complaints about the conditions for receiving payment, that economic assistance was given as a loan, and that the municipality demanded reimbursement of social security benefits. In over three quarters of cases regarding economic assistance, the decision of the municipality was affirmed.
Less than one fifth of cases of complaint were about social services. Complaints about social services were mainly complaints about economic assistance for carers and practical assistance, for example reduction in home help services and lack of allocation of client-managed personal assistance. Other causes for complaint were inadequate support contact and respite care services, and rejection of application for reimbursement of expenses for treatment for alcohol and drug abusers. In about half of the cases, the decision of the municipality was either revoked and the case sent back to the municipality to be dealt with again, or the decision was reversed. The chance for the complaint being upheld is thus much greater for complaints regarding social services than for complaints about economic assistance.
Eighty-five per cent of complaints were dealt with within three months. At the end of the year there were 871 cases pending.
The report is primarily prepared to give the Offices of the County Governors and the higher authorities an overview of the amount of administrative work that is carried out and the trends in the area of complaints according to the Social Services Act. The report is also of interest for people who wish to obtain a greater insight in this area, or who are concerned about the role of the Offices of the County Governors as a body with responsibility for legal safeguards.