Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (17 017 535)

Category : Adult care services > Assessment and care plan

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 03 Jun 2019

Summary: A woman complains about the lack of support she received to recruit a personal assistant, and about an assessment by the Council which reduced her support by over 60%.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

We welcome the Council’s agreement to our recommendations to:

  • apologise to Ms X in writing, and in an accessible format, setting out the faults we have identified and detailing the action it will take to put this right;
  • pay Ms X £3,800 to acknowledge the significant and avoidable harm, distress, time and trouble it caused when it failed to provide sufficient support and repeatedly failed to listen to what she said;
  • pay Ms X’s longstanding, day time personal assistant, £500 in recognition of the unpaid, and on demand support she provided in the absence of other support;
  • reinstate the personal budget for 67 hours immediately, pending reassessment;
  • an experienced social worker with knowledge and understanding of sight loss to reassess Ms X’s needs. Also, complete a Continuing Health Care checklist
  • assessment and request a joint assessment with health;
  • discuss with Ms X, and ensure the Council’s records note, suitable reasonable adjustments for Ms X;
  • review the services provided by agency B, to consider:
    • complaints handling, and whether verbal complaints are captured;
    • response times and prioritisation;
    • the quality and timeliness of the information it provides to individuals needing to recruit personal assistants; and
    • the quality of the advice it provides about arranging care from agencies in the absence of a personal assistant.
  • review cases over the past 12 months where people with complex needs have complained about reductions in budgets, to ensure the reviews were in line with Care Act requirements;
  • take action to ensure all assessments, reviews and support plans are completed in line with the Care Act in future. In particular, to ensure:
    • the person’s view is the starting point where possible;
    • the assessment considers fluctuating needs, how to prevent needs developing or escalating, and takes a holistic approach;
    • people have the opportunity to comment on the assessment.
  • review its complaints process and take action to ensure responses to complaints are effective.

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