London Borough of Tower Hamlets (23 005 831)

Category : Adult care services > Disabled facilities grants

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 19 Sep 2023

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s refusal to complete adaptation works Mr X says his father needs. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains about the Council’s refusal to complete adaptation works he says his father needs. He says his father’s sink taps need to be changed and that he needs a larger sink. He also says his father would benefit from a stairlift to allow him to have access to the upstairs bath.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start an investigation if we decide there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended, section 34(B))

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How I considered this complaint

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

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My assessment

  1. The Council completed an occupational therapy assessment for Mr X’s father, Mr A, in March 2022. Following that assessment, the Occupational Therapist (OT) recommended a toilet and shower cubicle to be installed on the ground floor. The works were completed in February 2023.
  2. The Council noted the records showed Mr X had raised concern about the size of the sink. The Council explained a larger basin was not possible as otherwise the shower chair would not fit into the cubicle. The contractor advised Mr X to fill a jug using the shower hose within the cubicle. The OT reviewed the adaptations and was satisfied Mr A’s needs were being met and closed the case.
  3. The Council reviewed the case in May 2023 following Mr X’s request for the taps in the sink to be changed and for a stairlift to be installed. The Council told Mr X it would need to re-refer Mr A to the OT service to review the request and to complete a new assessment.
  4. The Council explained Mr A’s case had been allocated to an OT, but that Mr X declined the OT’s request to visit and complete an assessment. Mr X confirmed he did decline this request.
  5. An investigation is not justified as there is insufficient evidence of fault. While I appreciate Mr X feels the Council has completed enough assessments to decide whether the adaptations are required, the Council is entitled to complete a reassessment. This is especially considering the last OT assessment was completed in March 2022. Therefore, as a significant period has passed since the last assessment, it is good practice for the Council to complete a new assessment to ensure the most up to date information is captured. This in turn ensures any recommendations made will be appropriate for Mr A’s current needs. It is open to Mr X to allow the OT to visit Mr A to complete the face-to-face assessment.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because there is insufficient evidence of fault.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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