Nottinghamshire County Council (20 011 817)

Category : Adult care services > Assessment and care plan

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 01 Jun 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: There was no evidential basis for the Council’s decision to reduce Mr Y’s support hours. During this investigation the Council reconsidered its decision and reinstated the hours. There is no further remedy required.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains about the outcome of an assessment of his adult son’s care and support needs completed in November 2020. The assessment formed part of an agreed remedy on a public report this office issued in November 2019 (18 015 558).

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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’. If there has been fault which has caused an injustice, we may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), as amended)
  2. 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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have:
  • considered the complaint and discussed it with Mr X;
  • considered the correspondence between Mr X and the Council, including the Council’s response to the complaint;
  • made enquiries of the Council and considered the responses;
  • considered relevant legislation;
  • offered Mr X and the Council an opportunity to comment on a draft of this document.

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What I found

  1. Mr Y has autism. He lives with his parents, Mr & Mrs X, who provide support with all aspects of daily living.
  2. In November 2019, this office published a public report which criticised the Council for its decision to reduce Mr Y’s personal budget without proper assessment of his care and support needs. As part of the agreed remedy the Council agreed to “review Mr Y’s assessment and produce a care and support plan which reflects his needs over a seven-day period and explain in detail how these needs will be met, in consultation with Mr Y and Mr & Mrs X”.
  3. Due to lockdown, there was a delay in the completion of the assessment. The Council completed the assessment in November 2020. The outcome of which resulted in a reduction in Mr Y’s weekly support hours from 13 hours per week to 6.
  4. Having considered the needs assessment completed in 2018, the content of which informed the findings of the public report, and the assessment completed in November 2020, I contacted the Council to ask it to explain the basis for its decision to reduce Mr Y’s weekly support hours, when the assessment showed little change in his needs.
  5. The 2020 assessment considered all areas of Mr Y’s needs. Of which:
  • 19 concluded no change from the 2018 assessment
  • 2 concluded increased independence (no 1 & 18 of the assessment)
  • 2 concluded increased need for support (no 5 & 11 of the assessment)
  1. The 2018 assessment records Mr Y to need between 3 – 3.5 hrs support a day
  2. The November 2020 assessment records Mr Y to need between 4.5 – 5 hours support a day. Both assessments record Mr Y to need support ‘in the community more than 6 times a week’.
  3. During this investigation, the Council reconsidered its decision to reduce Mr Y’s support hours and agreed to reinstate the support hours to 13 per week and backdate it to November 2020. The Council has issued a revised support plan, which Mr Y and Mr X are satisfied with. The Council plans to review Mr Y’s needs again in June 2022.


  1. It is not our role to decide if a person has social care needs, or if they are entitled to receive services from the Council. Our role is to establish if the Council assessed a person’s needs properly and acted in accordance with the law.
  2. In this case, the Council failed to do so because there was no evidential basis for the reduction to Mr Y’s support hours.
  3. If a person’s support package is reduced or changed in a significant way, then the law requires that the Council provides a detailed and convincing explanation as to why this is happening (for example because the person’s condition has improved substantially). In this case there was no convincing explanation.
  4. The Council reconsidered its decision and reinstated Mr Y’s hours. There is no outstanding injustice that needs to be remedied. The Ombudsman welcomes the Council’s actions.

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Final decision

  1. There is evidence of fault by the Council. There was no evidential basis for the reduction to Mr Y’s support hours.
  2. During this investigation, the Council reconsidered its decision and reinstated Mr Y’s support hours. There is no further remedy required..
  3. It is on this basis; the complaint will be closed.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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