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Cornwall Council (19 004 581)

Category : Adult care services > Assessment and care plan

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 03 Dec 2020

Summary: Mrs D complains the Council should not have stopped her Direct Payments in August 2018. Mrs D says the Council should also have allowed her daughter, who lived with her, to remain her paid carer. Mrs D complains the Council failed to put a commissioned homecare service in place to provide her care when it stopped her Direct Payments, and because of this her daughter was forced to continue to provide this care to her as an informal unpaid carer. Mrs D says the Council also failed to support her daughter in her role as her informal carer. Mrs D says this resulted in significant distress to her and her daughter, as well as financial hardship for her daughter. Her daughter could not take up any paid employment opportunities for herself, did not have enough breaks and was therefore unable to maintain her social life, engage with hobbies and interests and have regular time off to relax. Mrs D also complains about the financial assessment the Council carried out in November 2017, which resulted in a decision that she had to pay a contribution towards the cost of her care between November 2017 and December 2018.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused by the faults, the Council has agreed to, within four weeks of the date of this report:

  • apologise to Mrs D and her daughter for the faults identified and for the distress these caused;
  • pay Mrs D’s daughter an amount equivalent to what she would have received if the Council had continued to pay her for the care support she provided, from 26 January 2019 onwards until it found a care agency and offered Mrs D a commissioned care package in February 2020;
  • review Mrs D’s circumstances and decide if the Council should allow Mrs D a Direct Payment to pay her daughter to provide her care. If it decides to refuse this, the Council should provide a clear explanation in writing. If it approves this, the Council should provide clear information in writing about the Council's expectations for managing the payments and details of support that is available to help Mrs D with this; and
  •  share with its adult social care staff the lessons learned about:
    • when the Council may consider it necessary to use Direct Payments to pay a family member to provide care; and
    • how best to get medical evidence efficiently.
  • We also recommend the Council pay Mrs D and her daughter £500 each for the distress they have suffered since September 2018. The Council has not yet agreed to pay £500 to Mrs D.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 17 March 2021

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