London Borough of Merton (22 006 164)

Category : Adult care services > Assessment and care plan

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 22 Sep 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Miss X complains the Council failed to complete a care assessment appropriately and ignored her parent’s needs. We have upheld this complaint because the Council has agreed to resolve the complaint early by providing a proportionate remedy for the injustice caused by the likely faults.

The complaint

  1. Miss X complains the Council failed to complete a care assessment appropriately. She says the Council ignored her parent’s needs.

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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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. The Council completed a care assessment for Miss X’s father, Mr A. The assessment noted Mr A’s wife supported him in quite a few areas, such as meal preparation and laundry. The assessment therefore noted Mr A had no eligible needs in these areas. The assessment also noted there was no eligible need in Mr A maintaining a habitable home environment due to him agreeing to hire a private cleaner.
  2. However, paragraph 6.15 of the care and support statutory guidance notes that during an assessment, councils must consider all the adult’s care and support needs, regardless of any support being provided by a carer. Where an adult has a carer, information on the care they provide can be captured during the assessment, but it must not influence the eligibility determination. Only when the eligibility determination has been reached, if the needs are eligible, can councils consider the care provided by a carer. This ensures councils can respond appropriately if the carer feels unable or unwilling to carry out the care they were providing.
  3. If we were to investigate, it is likely we would find fault as the Council did not complete the care assessment in line with the above. This will have caused an injustice as there is uncertainty about what Mr A’s eligible needs are.
  4. We asked the Council to consider remedying this by completing a new care and support assessment for Mr A. We asked the Council that when doing so, it should give due consideration to any care and support provided to Mr A by his wife, and whether she is able and willing to continue to provide the support.

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Agreed action

  1. To its credit, the Council has agreed to resolve the complaint and will complete the above within four weeks of the final decision.

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Final decision

  1. We have upheld this complaint as the Council has agreed to resolve the complaint early by providing a proportionate remedy for the injustice caused.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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