The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has taken the rare step of issuing a further report after Shropshire Council failed to agree to the recommendations laid out in a previous report.
The LGO issued a report into the council's actions in May after a man was forced to give up his job and career to become a full-time carer for his wife, who had severe mental health problems requiring 24-hour care and supervision. The council failed to assess the woman’s needs for a period between February 2008 and April 2010, failed to assess her husband’s needs as a carer and failed to provide sufficient funds to cover the woman’s care.
In that report, the LGO recommended that the council apologise to the couple, pay the complainant £1,000 for the time and trouble of bringing the case to the attention of the LGO and review the way it handles similar cases. It also recommended that the council pay the man £61,270 for the care he provided to his wife, which the council had not funded at the time.
The council has agreed to the first three recommendations, but has chosen to challenge the fourth.
Though the LGO’s recommendations are not legally binding, the Local Government Act gives the Ombudsman the power to issue further reports where authorities have not complied with those recommendations.
Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman said:
"Public services must ultimately be accountable to the people that use them, through democratically elected councillors. Members of Shropshire Council should now give careful consideration to the contents of my further report.
"If the public cannot have confidence that injustices will be remedied it will significantly undermine their trust in both public services and in their elected representatives.”
Article date: 16 January 2014