Councils facing a rising tide of complaints from the public about care services must listen to them and take action, the government regulator has warned.
The comment by the Care Quality Commission follows a report by the local government ombudsman saying complaints about charging for adult care have increased by 9% in the last year and of those more than two thirds were being upheld.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said financial pressures had led to 'sustained high levels of complaints' over adult care services.
In his annual report he says he has become 'increasingly concerned 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.'
There had been a shift from one-off mistakes to problems with whole systems and policies, or procedures being incorrectly applied.
Mr King said: 'We know authorities are operating under an enormous amount of pressure and financial challenge to deliver care services.
'The stark reality of this is now playing out in the complaints we see.
'Despite this, when it comes to service delivery, we simply can’t make concessions for these pressures in the recommendations we make.'
Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission, said it was 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'.
She said: '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.'