Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, adult social care case summaries 20 Feb 2020

All cases can be found at this link

Nottinghamshire County Council (19 003 830)
Summary: The Council was at fault for a delay in reviewing Miss C’s care and support plan, which meant there was a delay in referring her for support to bring her transport costs down. However, this delay did not cause her an injustice, because the Council waived her contributions during that period. The Ombudsman cannot question the Council’s decision to charge a contribution because it is entitled to do so, and it has considered Miss C’s income and expenditure, and the law, in reaching a decision.

Northamptonshire County Council (19 007 463)
Summary: Miss X complained about her father being in a nursing home, and the care he receives there. She also complained about the Council having taken steps towards selling the family home. We cannot investigate this complaint. We already considered part of the complaint in 2015 and we cannot investigate that again. Other issues are being considered in court and are not for the Ombudsman.

Thurrock Council (19 009 923)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s demand for £856. This is because the Council has decided the complainant does not have to pay it. The Ombudsman cannot investigate the dispute about the larger debt because the matter has been considered in court.

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (19 009 964)
Summary: Mr X complained about the Council’s decision following his request for a disabled facilities grant to install a level-access shower in his home. The Council agreed to pay a grant, but refused Mr X’s request for the shower to be a cubicle or have a screen, rather than a shower curtain. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault in the Council’s actions.

Sheffield City Council (19 010 869)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint about the Council’s refusal to agree to backdate an uplift in his direct payments to April 2018. This is because the fault Mr A alleges has not caused a significant enough injustice to warrant an Ombudsman investigation.

Catholic Blind Institute (18 019 427)
Summary: The care provider considered all relevant factors before it decided it could no longer meet Mr X’s needs.

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (19 002 189)
Summary: Mrs B complains about social care support provided by the Council to her daughter Ms C, when she was without a personal assistant. We find fault in the Council commissioning an agency to undertake domestic tasks that did not provide a satisfactory service. Also, for it failing to investigate a complaint about that service. This caused Ms C distress and put her to unnecessary time and trouble. The Council has agreed to remedy this by providing an apology and £250 payment in recognition of her injustice.

London Borough of Brent (18 018 024)
Summary: There was some delay on the part of the Council is reviewing Mr N’s needs but no evidence that caused him significant injustice as a result. The Council put in place an additional allocation of time for socialisation and referred him for a floating support worker to help him with paperwork.

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council (18 018 612)
Summary: Ms X complains that a social worker unjustly accused Mr Y of making threats to kill a manager and this impacted his support and treatment. The Ombudsman finds no fault in the Council’s actions.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (19 000 504)
Summary: Mr X complained about the quality of care provided to his mother at two Council commissioned care homes. The Council was at fault. Care home A was unable to meet Mrs Y’s needs and the Council took too long to move her. It agreed Mrs Y could move to care home B even though this provided similar care to care home A and so could not meet her needs. It then failed to move Mrs Y who was ultimately admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act for assessment. The Council’s complaint response was also poor. The Council has agreed to reduce the care bill, make a payment to Mr X to acknowledge the distress and frustration he was caused and carry out a lessons learned exercise to prevent a recurrence of the faults.

North Somerset Council (19 002 246)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint about the Council’s failure to assess his needs. This is because the Council has explained it has consulted with Mr A’s GP who will advise it of any changes in Mr A’s care needs requiring an assessment and the Ombudsman could not say this is fault.

Tilford Care Home Limited (19 008 265)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint about her ex-husband’s stay at the care provider’s care home. Ms X has confirmed the matter has been resolved with the care provider and she does not wish to continue with this complaint.

London Borough of Sutton (19 009 162)
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s refusal to start proceedings in the Court of Protection. This is because it is late.

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (19 010 793)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss A’s complaint about the way the Council dealt with her complaint about her financial contribution to her care costs. This is because it is unlikely we could significantly add to the Council’s investigation or that further investigation would lead to a different outcome.

Cheshire West & Chester Council (18 010 569)
Summary: Ms X complains about the Council’s handling of her care needs and financial assessments. She also complains the Council should have safeguarded her wellbeing and needs. The Ombudsman finds fault with the Council for failing to send Ms X copies of her reassessments and final care plans. We also find fault with the time taken for the Council to consider Ms X’s disability related expenditure. We have recommended the Council make a financial payment.

East Sussex County Council (19 000 804)
Summary: Mr X complains about the way the Council conducted a safeguarding adults investigation after allegations were made that involved him and his wife. He says it took too long and led to the couple losing income unnecessarily. The Council accepts there were faults in the investigation and that it took too long. This caused the couple distress for longer than necessary, for which the Council will pay them £500 as well as the actions it agreed before the complaint reached us. However, it is not possible to say Mr and Mrs X lost income during the investigation. This is because they resigned from the scheme under which they provided accommodation a few weeks after the safeguarding investigation started.

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council (19 002 826)
Summary: The Council gave Mr A appropriate housing advice and assistance and responded appropriately to his reports of noise nuisance. There was no discrimination against Mr A and he received appropriate support from social work staff. We do not uphold Mr A’s complaints.

Melton Borough Council (19 004 417)
Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about Ms Q’s need for a larger property to accommodate her family. This is because we have no jurisdiction to consider the housing management issues complained of.

London Borough of Hackney (19 004 454)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s actions in relation to the care that the complainant received in a residential home. This is because much of the complaint is late and is therefore out of our jurisdiction. There is nothing further that we could add to the responses regarding the Council’s more recent actions in relation to safeguarding and withholding data.

Nottingham City Council (19 008 305)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about how the Council assessed the complainant’s finances or the delay increasing the complainant’s support package. This is as it is unlikely that further investigation by the Ombudsman could add to the Council’s response.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (19 009 604)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint about the Council’s actions regarding its role in assessing and providing care and support to his daughter, Ms B in her home. This is because there is not enough evidence of fault with the actions taken by the Council warranting an investigation by the Ombudsman.

Nottinghamshire County Council (19 010 875)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about the care and support provide to his disabled adult daughter. Mr X is not authorised by his daughter to complain on her behalf.

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council (18 011 747)
Summary: There was fault by the Council. It did not consider whether it could waive the amount repayable for a Disabled Facilities Grant on the grounds that Mrs B was selling the property due to the impact on her wellbeing. This has left Mrs B uncertain as to whether the Council properly considered her situation. The Council should reconsider Mrs B’s request and write to her with the reasons for its decision.

Leeds City Council (18 017 595)
Summary: Mr X complains about the way the Council assessed the late Mrs Y’s contribution to her care. He wants the Council to disregard accumulated capital from her attendance allowance. The Ombudsman finds no fault with the Council’s approach to this.

Essex County Council (18 018 156)
Summary: The Council accepts there were faults in the way that it assessed Mr D’s care charges, in particular the Disability Related Expenditure (DRE). It has agreed to apologise to Mr D, review his DRE, and make a payment of £450 in recognition of the anxiety caused by its failures, and the time and trouble in pursuing the complaint.

Maples Care Home (Bexleyheath) Limited (19 003 596)
Summary: The Ombudsmen find there was fault on the part of a Surgery in the care it provided to a patient with dementia. It should have done more before prescribing a sedative on a long-term basis, and it should have performed a more thorough examination when the patient became unwell. These faults have left the patient’s daughter with uncertainty which, in turn, caused distress. The Surgery has agreed to provide an apology and produce an action plan to help put things right.

Maples Care Home (19 003 596a)
Summary: The Ombudsmen find there was fault on the part of a Surgery in the care it provided to a patient with dementia. It should have done more before prescribing a sedative on a long-term basis, and it should have performed a more thorough examination when the patient became unwell. These faults have left the patient’s daughter with uncertainty which, in turn, caused distress. The Surgery has agreed to provide an apology and produce an action plan to help put things right.

Mr Sanjay Prakashsingh Ramdany & Mrs Sandhya Kumari Ramdany (19 006 178)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because there are other bodies better placed to address the matters it raises.

Sunderland City Council (19 006 825)
Summary: The investigation into Ms X’s complaint about how the Council assessed her care needs will be discontinued. She is now receiving support from the Council and is satisfied with that support.

Essex County Council (19 002 910)
Summary: Mr X complains about the way the Council tried to recover costs for the late Mrs Y’s care charges. The Ombudsman finds fault as the Council sent demands with incorrect costs. This left Mrs Y’s husband believing he had to pay more for Mrs Y’s care costs. The Council has agreed to write off the remaining care costs, and review its procedures for invoicing.

Saga Group Ltd (18 018 541)
Summary: Mr X complained on behalf of his parents, Mr and Mrs Y, who are customers of an introductory care agency which matches them with suitable carers for a fee. They complained the arrangement, which involves paying an ongoing fee, no longer gives them value for money as they have employed their current carer on a long-term basis. The Agency was at fault because it agreed the contract with Mr and Mrs Y’s daughter, but not them, despite them being able to consent to the arrangement and paying for it. This did not cause a significant personal injustice. The Agency has provided evidence to show it has since amended its practices and provided staff training around gaining consent from its service users to meet its legal duties.

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