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North Yorkshire County Council (20 002 823)

Category : Adult care services > Assessment and care plan

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 17 Sep 2021

Summary: Mrs B complained that the Council failed to properly advise her of a change in the way it assessed her mother's (Mrs C's) finances which resulted in Mrs C becoming responsible for her full care costs. She also complained the Council met with Mrs C to discuss her finances without Mrs B being present and persuaded Mrs C to sign a deferred payment agreement (DPA).

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused we recommend the Council:

  • a)provide Mrs B and us with a copy of the Council's current charging policy for non-residential care;
  • b) explain when its approach to the treatment of property within this policy changed, who authorised the change and whether any assessment of the impact on vulnerable service-users was done;
  • c) carry out a review of the decision not to apply the property disregard to Mrs C's financial assessment, with reference to the Care Act statutory guidance and with properly evidenced reasons for its decision;
  • d) apply the new decision to Mrs C's case from 4 February 2020 (the date it provided an explanation of the charges and information about the DPA) and waive the charges before this date;
  • e) confirm whether the DPA was finalised and if so how it will operate;
  • f) waive the £380 costs incurred in this process;
  • g) pay Mrs B  £500 for the distress caused and her time and trouble in pursuing the matter; and
  • h) identify and review each time it has removed a property disregard from a service-user since April 2019. If the Council finds fault similar to that identified in this case it should follow the principles we have set out above to remedy any injustice caused. Once the review is complete the Council should produce a report on the findings and send us a copy.

The Council has already implemented recommendations a, b and e and has agreed to the other recommendations.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 28 February 2022.

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