This was a complaint brought against London Borough of Brent about the level of support the Council provided to an autistic man with learning difficulties. The Council failed to consider the request for an increase in the man’s hours of support. The Council agreed to pay the man’s parents the sum of £12,896.55 to recognise this.
This was a claim against the London Borough of Lambeth which failed to take full account of a man’s vulnerability when assigning and supporting him to ensure that key information was supplied to his personal adviser. The LGO found that the social services did not assess the man’s needs, including financial needs, in 2006 before he started his diploma course. Further the LGO found that there were shortcomings in the pathways plans prepared in March 2006, September 2006 and March 2007, and a failure to follow through agreed action. This led to the man’s continuing disappointment and frustration and additional put the start of his university course in jeopardy. As a result the man did not receive the support and assistance he should have received from his personal adviser. As a result of the Council’s failings the man had depression. The Council agreed the below:
complete the review of Mr Smith’s pathway plan so that he had clarity with regard to financial matters and the support that the Council would provide for him;
pay Mr Smith £5,000 in recognition of the injustice he has suffered as a result of the Council’s maladministration; and
pay the charity £2,000 as some recognition of the role it has played in Mr Smith’s life in the absence of effective support from the Council.
Complaint no. 10 005 663 and 10 002 102 http://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/adult-care-services/transition-from-childrens-services/10-005-663
The LGO considered a claim against Staffordshire County Council where it failed to meet an autistic teenager’s educational and care needs. The teenager’s mother asked the Council for a new assessment of his needs and requested to be transferred to a different school. The Council, however, believed that his existing school could meet his needs and refused to provide transport to another school, which was 15 miles away from his home, so his mother had to drive him to and from school. As a result of the Council’s failings, the complainant lost the opportunity for her son’s education and care needs to be reviewed by professionals. The LGO found that both the mother and the son suffered a significant amount of avoidable stress and frustration as a result of this, and due to the delay in carrying out the adult care assessment. The LGO commented that the transition to adulthood was exceptionally difficult for the parents of a child with complex educational and care needs, therefore it was vital that the proper support was in place to ensure the transition went as smoothly as possible. However, the Council failed to assess the teenager’s care needs in good time. The Council agreed to pay the complainant £5,250 compensation and instead of paying compensation to her son, to install a swing-seat for him in the garden of his home.
The LGO considered a claim against the Birmingham City Council. Due to the Council’s failure to make the proper transitional arrangements for Ms A’s care in time for her to start university as planned, Ms A had to defer the start of her course for a year. The Council found that there were long delays, and no action was taken to progress Ms A’s transitional arrangements. As a result, Ms A suffered significant disappointment as well as the upset of making different arrangements for her care for the intervening year. The Council agreed to apologise to Ms A and to make her a payment of £5,000 to her to acknowledge the significant effect of its delays. The Council haD further agreed to look again at the issue of the Direct Payments which Ms A was assessed.
This was a claim brought against Lincolnshire County Council by Mrs X, which involved the Council’s failure to ensure a smooth transition from Children’s Services to Adult Care services for the complainant’s daughter. Mrs X’s daughter had severe autism, learning difficulties, a number of health conditions and some behavioural problems. The LGO found that even thought the daughter had a high level of complex needs, the council delayed in arranging overnight respite care for her following the transition from children’s to adult services and failed to make any provision for around a year. As a result the daughter’s family has not had a break from caring, and Mrs X became exhausted and struggled to cope with the demands of the caring. Further the Council failed to properly communicate with Mrs X. The Council agreed to make the payment of £4,881.60 to Mrs X, which represented half of the cost of overnight carers at home; to apologise to Mrs X for its failures to provide overnight respite care ; and to review its processes.
The Council delayed for six weeks in completing an assessment in respect of Miss E and her daughter F, failed to communicate properly with Miss E about the social worker’s extended leave and failed to offer any support to Miss E at a very difficult time. The Council agreed to pay her £300 compensation and improve its procedures for the future.
Complaint No. 05/B/10487
(The report of the LGO is attached to a meeting of the Regulatory Committee of Staffordshire County Council dated 9th March 2007)
This was a complaint brought against Staffordshire County Council, which involved a Staffordshire’s failure to prevent the bullying of a looked-after child in a residential unit and the mishandling of his complaints. He suffered four months of verbal and physical bullying that left him afraid and isolated. Staffordshire agreed to apologise to the child again; reinforce the importance for front-line residential staff of following the designated complaints procedure; and make a payment of £3,000 him.
This was a complaint against Calderdale Council. The LGO found that Calderdale failed to adequately assess and produce a care plan for a 14-year-old girl with severe physical and learning disabilities, over a ten-year period. They also failed to assess her parents’ needs as carers. The Council agreed to appoint an independent social worker to assess B’s needs, and the needs of her parents as carers, and produce a care plan that complies with statutory guidance within 35 days; review its decision not to pay Mr A to provide care for B; make a payment of £5,000 to Mr and Mrs A in recognition of the significant distress, time and trouble they have experienced; make an additional payment at a level to be agreed with the Ombudsman if, following assessment, the Council identified services they were entitled to but have not received; and review its practices so that its assessments of disabled children fulfilled the Council’s statutory duties and met the requirements of government guidance.
This was a complaint about serious failures by Kingston upon Hull City Council in the way that it responded to child protection referrals of two children. The complaint was brought by the children’s aunt. The Council assured the Ombudsman that it had updated its procedures for record keeping and accepted the recommendations that it should pay the children’s aunt £7,665 – which was 25 per cent of what she would have received as a ‘kinship carer allowance’ for the time that the children lived with her. The Council also agreed to review and improve its procedures.
A family including two seriously disabled children spent three years in unsuitable accommodation as a result of failures by Bury Metropolitan Borough Council. The local authority was ordered to make three annual payments of £6,000 each to the mother and her older disabled child, and create a fund of £5,000 for items and activities chosen by the other children in the family in recognition of the effect on them of the situation.
This complaint was made against the London Borough of Southwark where the LGO considered a complaint brought by a woman who was registered blind with epilepsy. She and her two children were threatened with eviction so she approached Southwark for housing. The LGO found that Southwark acted with maladministration in failing to investigate her homelessness application, failing to provide her with adequate interim accommodation and failing to carry out an adequate community care assessment and subsequently to implement her care plan. As a result of the Southwark’s failure to provide services, the complainant incurred the costs of hiring a private carer. The LGO recommended that Southwark pay the complainant the sum of £10,600 to compensate her for the additional expenses incurred because services were not provided between 1 July 2008 and 11 August 2009 (calculated at £200 per week). It also recommended a payment to the complainant of a further £2000 in recognition of the distress and anxiety caused by the failure to introduce a night carer or deal with the homeless application properly. Finally, it recommended that Southwark pay the complainant a further £500 in recognition of her time and trouble in pursuing these complaints.
This was a complaint against the London Borough of Bexley. The complainant had allegations of abuse brought against her by her daughter, who was then accommodated in unsuitable lodgings. The LGO found that the Council had conducted the child protection investigation with maladministration. The LGO recommended that Bexley pay the complainant £7,741.08 for her legal fees for representation before the Stage 3 Panel; pay the complainant £5,000 in recognition of her distress, outrage, inconvenience and time and trouble; instruct an independent family counsellor to make detailed proposals for family counselling/reunification and apologise for the faults identified in their report.
This was a complaint against Worcestershire County Council. The LGO found that Worcestershire had badly handled the care needs of a young man with cerebral palsy, over a period of several years. By the time the LGO’s report was published, the Council had initiated direct payments to the family and agreed to pay the disabled man £4,000 to reflect his suffering and inconvenience. In addition, the LGO recommended an additional £9,000 in compensation be paid to his mother, a sum which reflected her lost opportunity to articulate her needs as a carer and the uncertainty that she may have had the opportunity for greater support in caring for her son and the resulting distress since 2004, as well as her time and trouble.
Complaint No. 07B04696 and 07B10996 www.lgo.org.uk/assets/attach/1555/07B04696.pdf
This was a complaint against the London Borough of Croydon. The complaint related to the Council’s failure to consider a family’s needs when making provision for the care of a severely autistic boy with a history of aggression towards his sister. The Ombudsman recommended that the Council should apologise to his parents and make them an ex gratia payment of £20,000 and review its administrative arrangements to prevent a recurrence of the maladministration.
A young girl was deprived of four years of family life by the failures of Birmingham City Council. She was two years old when she first came to the notice of the Council, having swallowed her mother’s methadone. By the time she was four, in May 2000, the Council’s initial assessment suggested that she was living in a violent home with at least one drug-using parent. She was placed in the care of the Council. The order included very specific instructions about contact with her maternal grandparents – who had looked after her for the previous year – and safeguards that would provide a safety net if the placement with her mother broke down. Yet the Council failed to have any contact with her, to supervise the placement or to comply in any way with the contact order made by the courts for the next 18 months. The Ombudsman recommended the Council to pay £40,000 compensation to her, and a further £10,000 to her grandparents to recognise that they were deprived of giving their granddaughter the care she deserved, that they suffered stress and anxiety from the treatment by the Council, and that they incurred very considerable expenses in fares and telephone calls trying to sort things out. The Council agreed to these recommendations. She was represented by a solicitor. Birmingham had also introduced changes to its procedures.
The LGO considered a complaint against Shropshire County Council, brought by a married couple. The wife had complex mental health needs requiring 24-hour care and lived at home where she was supported by her husband. Shropshire failed to carry out a proper assessment of her needs and provided direct payments for only 50 hours per week of care for her husband, who was forced to leave his job. In this case, the LGO was not prepared to compensate the husband for his lost earnings, pension and career prospects. The LGO said that it would be too difficult to get an accurate picture of how much work he could have done; how much he had lost by way of pension or whether he would have remained in that employment. The Ombudsman recommended that the Council:
made payment of £61,270 to the husband in recognition of the care he provided which was not funded by the Council at the appropriate time;
provided an apology to the couple about the time that it had taken to deal with the complaint;
reviewed its procedures for complaint handling in light of comments made in this report; and
paid the wife £1000 for the time and trouble in making the complaint and the further delay in obtaining the remedy.
Malcolm Johnson E: email@example.com
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