Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (18 007 841)

Category : Adult care services > Disabled facilities grants

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 07 Nov 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr X complains the Council delayed assessing his application for a Disabled Facilities Grant. The Council have now assessed his application and have completed the work. We have stopped investigating this complaint as Mr X has the outcome he desired and it is unlikely we could achieve anything else by further investigating the complaint.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I will call Mr X, complained the Council delayed the assessment for a Disabled Facilities Grant. He says the Council wrongly prioritised his wife’s needs and should have awarded her higher priority. He wants the Council to assess his Disabled Facilities Grant application and to complete the recommended adaptation to their property.

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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 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(7), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read Mr X’s complaint and spoke with him about it.
  2. I read and considered the Council’s response to Mr X’s complaint.
  3. I spoke with the Council who told me the current status of his application.
  4. I gave the Council and Mr X the opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I considered their comments before making my final decision.

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What I found

  1. Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG’s) are for people with a qualifying disability who need adaptations in their home to help them remain in their home.
  2. The Council will usually complete an assessment of need which will recommend adaptations to the home. The applicant can then apply to the Council for a Grant. The Council must approve the Grant before any work can start.
  3. The Council must assess the application and give the applicant a decision within six months. Once the Council approves an application, the work must be completed within twelve months.
  4. Councils may have a priority scheme for adaptations, to ensure it assesses applicants with the greatest needs as soon as possible.

Findings

  1. Mr X’s wife, Mrs X, became unwell in October 2017. She was admitted to hospital and remained there until May 2018.
  2. On discharge from hospital, she had a care package with two home carers to help her with personal care each morning. She could not access the cubicle shower in her home.
  3. Mr X requested assessment for adaptations to the bathroom, to enable his wife to access a shower. The Council completed an assessment of need in June 2018. This assessment recommended installing a level access shower in their home.
  4. In June 2018 Mr X applied to the Council for a DFG to help fund the adaptation.
  5. By early August 2018, the Council had not yet assessed Mr X’s application. Mr X complained to the Council about the delay.
  6. The Council responded to his complaint. It said Mrs X’s case was not deemed as highest priority. It said this was because his wife could strip wash independently and maintain her personal hygiene. It said his application would be assessed as soon as possible.
  7. Mr X was not satisfied with this response and complained to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in late August 2018.
  8. The Council completed the DFG assessment in September 2018. It approved the application. It said it would contact Mr X when it had a start date for the works.
  9. The Council contacted the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in October 2018. It said it had assessed and approved Mr X’s application for the DFG. It said the planned start date for the work to install the level access shower was 5 November 2018.
  10. In its response to the draft decision, the Council said it started the work earlier than planned, and the work was now completed.
  11. Mr and Mrs X now have the outcome they want and Mr X is satisfied with the Council’s actions. It is unlikely anything more could be achieved by further investigating the complaint so I have stopped my investigation.

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Final decision

  1. I have stopped investigating this complaint. This is because Mr X has the outcome he desired and it is unlikely further investigation would achieve anything more.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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