Decision : Upheld
Decision date : 25 Jul 2018
Miss X complains about the Council’s failure to meet her disabled son’s needs by taking too long to re-house her family from a property that could not be adapted, then by delaying carrying out adaptations to their current property.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.
To remedy the injustice caused by fault in this case, we would normally recommend a monetary payment. This injustice is in the form of distress caused by the Council’s failure to act to help the family and the physical effect on Miss X of having to lift Y repeatedly when he needs a hoist. However, Miss X has told us any monetary payment may affect the family’s entitlement to benefits. Therefore,
we have made an alternative recommendation in line with Miss X’s request.
To remedy the injustice caused by fault, therefore, the Council has agreed to:
- apologise to Miss X and her family for the injustice it has caused them by failing to meet Y’s needs for more than three years;
- provide the family with a surfaced drive wide enough to accommodate their vehicle and to allow Y’s wheelchair to pass to reach the house;
- fund a weekend break or short break for the family up to a value of £1,500. This is because the previous recommendation meets a likely need the Council might ordinarily have to consider even had the injustice caused by fault not occurred;
- start the building work immediately to achieve a situation where Y has full wheelchair access to the ground floor of the property and can be hoisted for all transfers so that family members no longer have to lift him for these; and
- review its policies and procedures to ensure that it fully meets its duties to disabled children and their families under the Children Act 1989 and the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 in arranging adaptations to housing. This should ensure that it bases decisions on need rather than tenure.
Ombudsman satisfied with Council's reponse: 9 October 2018