Somerset County Council (16 016 755)

Category : Adult care services > Assessment and care plan

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 04 Oct 2019

Summary: Mr X complains on behalf of himself and his daughter that the Council did not carry out an adequate assessment of his daughter’s care needs in 2016, delayed in reassessing her care needs, failed to consider arrangements for her care needs in the absence of her personal assistants, failed to consider if she had an eligible need for short breaks, failed to make backdated direct payments and a one off direct payment as it agreed to do and did not properly deal with his complaint.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused we recommend the Council:

  • sends a written apology and makes a payment of £200 to Mr and Mrs X to acknowledge the distress and avoidable time and trouble caused by the inadequate assessment of Ms Y’s needs, the excessive delay in completing the reassessment of Ms Y’s needs, inadequate care and support plan and failure to make the backdated direct payments;
  • sends a written apology to Ms Y for the uncertainty caused by failing to address whether she had an eligible need for short breaks or holidays, failing to address the arrangements for Ms Y’s care in Mr and Mrs X’s absence and potentially missing a holiday due to the failure to make the one off direct payment;
  • backdate Ms Y’s increased direct payments for the period September 2016 to March 2017 when she became eligible for Continuing Health Care (CHC) funding as it agreed to do in July 2018;
  • increase Ms Y’s direct payments from 2014 to March 2017 when she became eligible for CHC funding to allow her to pay Mr X for managing her direct payment account;
  • makes a one-off direct payment to Ms Y for a short break as it agreed to do in July 2018;
  • reviews its procedures to ensure social workers are allocated to carry out assessments within a reasonable timescale to avoid the excessive delays experienced by Ms Y and Mr X. The Council said it has taken this action but it should provide evidence to us of how it has improved its practice in this area;
  • reviews its direct payment guidance to ensure it includes information about the Council’s policy on carers managing the cared for person’s direct payment account so carers and direct payment recipients are clear about the Council’s policy. The Council should provide a copy of its revised guidance to us; and
  • reviews its procedures to ensure officers give proper consideration to requests for a carer to be paid to manage the direct payment account. This is to ensure officers consider all the relevant circumstances when making their decision. The Council should provide a copy of its revised procedures to us.
  • reviews its procedures to ensure officers consider arrangements for care when a personal assistant (PA) is not available, for examples, holidays or sickness and detail those arrangements in the care and support plan. The Council should provide a copy of its revised procedures to us.

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