Lincolnshire County Council (16 003 268)

Category : Adult care services > Residential care

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 17 Nov 2017

Summary:  Mrs B complains the Council failed to offer her father, Mr C, a care home without a top-up fee and did not offer to pay the full fee the care home charged.  It did not explain its duties under the Care Act.

The complaint

The Council placed Mr C in a care home on an emergency basis. Mrs B complained the Council failed to:

  • offer a care home without a top-up fee;
  • pay the full fee the care home charged when no care home without a top-up fee was identified;
  • explain a person’s rights and the Council’s duties under the Care Act; offer Mr C a personal budget;
  • offer the option to pay the top-up fee to the Council; intervene when Mr C was threatened with eviction from the care home;
  • and properly address the threatening and intimidating language used by the care home.


The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.


To remedy the injustice caused, the council should:

To remedy the injustice to Ms B, Mr C and Mrs C, we recommend the Council takes the following actions within three months.

  • acknowledge the faults and apologise to Ms B, Mr C and Mrs C;
  • reimburse the top-up fee of £65;
  • pay Ms B and the family £300 to reflect their distress; and
  • pay Ms B £300 for her time and trouble pursuing the complaint.

We recommend the Council, within six months, brings its procedures in line with the Care Act by:

  • reviewing its procedures to ensure that people are offered the option to pay the top-up fee directly to the Council;
  • reviewing its top-up fee contract to reflect the option to pay the top-up fee directly to the Council; and
  • reviewing existing top-up agreements to bring them in line with the Care Act.

Further report

We have written this Further Report because the Council has failed to comply with recommendations made in a report issued on 11 January 2018. The recommendations were to improve its arrangements for collecting top-up fees for residential care to ensure they were in line with statutory guidance. The Council was given three months to respond to the report and provide evidence of compliance. It failed to provide a satisfactory response to our concerns about the collection of third party top up fees. We are therefore issuing a Further Report to highlight the ongoing concerns about the Council’s failure to fully acknowledge and remedy its faults.

We recommend the Council reviews its procedures to bring them fully in line with the Care Act 2014 and the statutory guidance.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 4 November 2020.

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