Decision : Upheld
Decision date : 27 Mar 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about an invoice for care sent by the Council, after Mr and Mrs X were told that they would not have to pay for this care. This is because the Council has already provided a fair response and there is not enough remaining injustice to warrant an investigation.
- Mrs X complains that she was told that she would not have to pay for care provided to her in her home, however she has since been invoiced for the care provided backdated to February 2018 when the care started. Mrs X is being represented by her husband, Mr X. Mr X complained to the Council who said that because they made changes to their policy on assessment, Mr and Mrs X must pay the outstanding bill.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
- If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information Mr X provided when making the complaint to the Ombudsman. I also considered information provided by the Council in response to enquiries made by the Ombudsman.
What I found
- The Ombudsman contacted the Council to obtain further information from it about the complaint. In response, it explained that Livewell Southwest, who are responsible for the adult social care assessment service on behalf of the Council, have agreed to waive the £790.62 invoiced to Mr X. The Council said that it spoke with Mr X to advise him of this and said that it would confirm this in writing with an apology.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate a complaint if the Council has already provided a reasonable remedy. I am satisfied that the Council has remedied the injustice by way of waiving the invoice and apologising to Mr and Mrs X.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman