Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, adult social care case summaries 27 Feb 2020

All cases can be found at this link 

Norfolk County Council (19 002 258)
Summary: Ms X complained the Council failed to meet the late Mr Y’s assessed eligible care needs or her needs as Mr Y’s carer.

London Borough of Lambeth (17 005 393)
Summary: Mrs B complains the Council delayed in assessing her needs and completed an inadequate assessment which did not properly reflect her needs. She says the Council recorded incorrect health information about her and the CCG delayed in completing a healthcare funding assessment. She says the faults caused her distress and left her out of pocket. The Ombudsmen found the Council failed to assess Mrs B promptly and this caused her uncertainty and distress. The CCG delayed its assessment and failed to calculate redress in line with government guidance and this left Mrs B out of pocket. The Council and the CCG acted to improve their processes and procedures. They have also agreed to the Ombudsmen’s recommendations and will apologise to Mrs B and pay a financial remedy.

Bournemouth Borough Council (18 012 035)
Summary: The Council is at fault as it did not instruct an independent social worker to consider if Mrs X had unmet need from March 2016 when carrying out an independent assessment of her care and support needs following a previous complaint to the Ombudsman. This fault caused uncertainty to Mr and Mrs X which the Council should remedy. There is no evidence of fault in the Council’s decision not to backdate Mrs X’s increased care package to March 2016.

Surrey County Council (18 012 625)
Summary: Mrs R and Miss S complain about the way their mother, Mrs T (deceased), was treated by a Council commissioned care provider following a water leak. There was fault in the Council’s handling of safeguarding concerns about the care provider’s actions just before Mrs T was admitted to hospital with dehydration and pneumonia. The Council also failed to appropriately intervene when the care provider decided to refuse Mrs T’s return from hospital, which caused avoidable distress to Mrs T and her family. The Council has agreed to apologise and make payments to Mrs R and Miss S, as well as improvements to the way in which the care provider records information and liaises with the Council and families or interested parties of residents.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (18 017 465)
Summary: Mrs X complains Tendercare Home Ltd failed to meet Mrs Y’s assessed care needs and placed her at considerable risk. She also complains the Council failed to keep her informed of the outcome of a safeguarding investigation. The failings in the care and services provided by Tendercare Home Ltd and in the Council’s safeguarding investigation amount to fault. This fault has caused Mrs Y and Mrs X an injustice.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (18 011 449)
Summary: The Council failed to provide Mr C with adequate care, after an inadequate investigation led to the decision for only male carers to be used to meet his care needs. The Council also failed to carry out a carer’s assessment of Mr C’s son. The Council have agreed to offer financial remedies to both Mr C and his son, and to conduct a review of Mr C’s case.

Cumbria County Council (18 013 457)
Summary: Mr X complained the Council failed to properly carry out an assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983 which led to his detention under section 2 of the Act. Mr X said he was discriminated against and wrongfully detained. The Council has already accepted there was fault in areas of the assessment process and made recommendations to prevent the same issues occurring again. The Council has agreed to provide evidence it has carried out those recommendations.

Swindon Borough Council (18 019 376)
Summary: Miss X complained about the poor standard of personal care she received at night. The Ombudsman has found the Council to be at fault. This fault caused Miss X distress and anxiety. To remedy this, the Council has agreed to apologise, make a payment to Miss X and review the service.

London Borough of Bromley (19 002 909)
Summary: The Council took over a year to complete an appeal of financial contribution for adult care services. The Council should complete such appeals within six months, its delay is fault and caused worry, confusion, time and trouble to the complainant. The Council will apologise, pay £250 and review its process to see if it can improve it or if this delay was a one-off issue.

Staffordshire County Council (19 004 120)
Summary: Mrs X says that the Council has failed to take all her Disability Related Expenditure into account, as part of her financial assessment. Although this was upsetting for Mrs X, the Ombudsman has found no fault by the Council.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council (18 016 504)
Summary: Miss J complained the Council should not have charged a contribution for her stay in a care home. The Ombudsman has not found fault by the Council.

Devon County Council (19 000 983)
Summary: There was no fault in the Council’s actions. The delay in Mrs X discovering her mother’s death was sad and unfortunate but not the fault of the Council or care provider.

London Borough of Bexley (19 003 653)
Summary: Mrs X complained for her husband, Mr X, about respite care at the Sidcup Care Home. There was fault in the way the Council commissioned the care and communicated with the care provider. There was no fault in the care provider’s decision to no longer offer respite care to Mr X in the future.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (19 005 086)
Summary: Miss X complained on behalf of her late father, Mr F about the Council commissioned care home, Delves Court, where Mr F lived between August and December 2018. Miss X said the care home unfairly charged for a notice period at the private rate after Mr F left. The Council was at fault. The care home entered into a private agreement with Mr F which was against the contractual agreement it had with the Council. It also wrongly insisted Mr F serve a 30-day notice period which resulted in large final invoice. The Council has already acknowledged those faults and has proposed to pay Miss X’s outstanding fees with the care home. In addition, it agreed to pay Miss X £150 to acknowledge the distress and time and trouble this has caused her and agreed to address the matter with the care home to prevent any recurrence of the faults.

Gloucestershire County Council (19 010 566)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr and Mrs A’s complaint about the actions of the Council during its consideration of a 12-week disregard for Mrs B’s property. This is because there is no evidence of fault with the actions taken by the Council warranting an Ombudsman investigation.

Surrey County Council (16 015 030)
Summary: The Ombudsmen found fault with the care provided to a woman with complex needs by several health and social care organisations. This included failure to arrange assessments and reviews, failures in transition planning and failure to make appropriate safeguarding referrals. This fault meant opportunities were missed to explore whether the woman had additional care needs. This also resulted in distress and uncertainty for her sister, who is pursuing the complaint on her behalf. The organisations concerned have agreed to take action to remedy the injustice to the complainants.

Thurrock Council (18 019 831)
Summary: The Council was at fault as it did not include Disability Related Expenditure when calculating care charges and did not review it regularly. The Council’s recalculation of the DRE and refund of the excess charges, remedies the financial injustice caused.

Extra Hands Of Heacham Ltd (19 000 008)
Summary: the care provider did not always update Mr X and Ms A about the care of their elderly father Mr B, as it promised. However, that failure did not cause injustice to Mr B.

Nottinghamshire County Council (19 002 730)
Summary: There was fault in the way Mr C’s care plan was set up as it did not specify the time when the carers were meant to attend. As a result, the carers attended at different times and sometimes Mr C was out when the carers attended. The Council still charged Mr C for those visits which was also fault. The Council has agreed to apologise in writing and to repay Mr C for visits that did not take place for which he was charged.

Lincolnshire County Council (19 004 381)
Summary: The Council already upheld Mr A’s complaint about late, short and missed care calls and waived charges. It also monitors the Care Provider’s performance. The action the Council has already taken is an appropriate remedy and no further action is required of the Council.

Creative Support Limited (18 016 768)
Summary: Mr X complains about the care Creative Support provided for his son. Creative Support accepts the care it has provided and the way it responded to complaints has not been adequate. Creative Support needs to increase its offer of financial redress to reflect the significant injustice it has caused.

Nottinghamshire County Council (19 000 339)
Summary: Mrs B complained the Council unreasonably sought repayment of direct payment monies which she had used for her care and refused a meeting to discuss her concerns. The Council only undertook one annual review and did not raise any concerns about Mrs B’s spending between 2012 and 2016. That meant Mrs B had no opportunity to amend the way she managed her direct payments account. An apology to Mrs B and a recalculation of the amount to be recovered is satisfactory remedy for the injustice caused.

Shropshire Council (19 010 330)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mrs A’s complaint about the way the Council reviewed her daughter’s, Ms B’s, care needs in 2018. This is because the actions taken by the Council have not caused a significant enough injustice to warrant an investigation by the Ombudsman.

Bracknell Forest Council (18 013 073)
Summary: The Council failed to ensure all Mr Y’s care needs were met when his college placement ended in 2017. The allocated personal budget was insufficient to meet Mr Y’s care and support needs. It also failed to undertake a reassessment when a community group requested increased support for Mr Y which directly contributed to the breakdown of the placement. The Council’s failures caused an injustice to the whole family, but particularly to Mr Y’s father, who suffered the strain of an increased caring role.

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