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Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council (11 022 473)

Category : Adult care services > Other

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 19 Aug 2014

Summary

Complaint from a man on behalf of his brother and sister-in-law that the council failed to adequately support them over a number of years when his brother's health deteriorated from February 2010 onwards.

The complaint

Complaint from a man on behalf of his brother and sister-in-law that the council failed to adequately support them over a number of years when his brother's health deteriorated from February 2010 onwards. The couple did not receive adequate housing advice and their housing application was not prioritised in accordance with the council's housing policy. The council continued to charge council tax on the couple's former home even though an exemption should have been applied. After the couple obtained permanent housing in April 2011 there was a significant delay in allocating the man a social worker and a personal budget which would have allowed him greater say over how his care needs would be paid for. There were also significant delays in carrying out financial assessments which resulted in the couple receiving backdated invoices for the costs of care.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused, we recommend the council:

  • apologise to the couple and their representative for the faults identified in our report;
  • pay £10,000 to the couple in recognition of the considerable and avoidable distress and uncertainty caused by its actions over a prolonged period of time and involving several different services;
  • pay £250 to the couple's representative in recognition of his time and trouble in pursuing the complaint;
  • apply a 'Class J' council tax exemption to the couple's former home for the period June 2010 to April 2011 and refund all charges and costs paid for this period; and
  • review those procedures where fault has been highlighted.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 24 July 2015

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