St Helens Council urged to reconsider response to Ombudsman’s report

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has asked St Helens Council to reconsider its response to a report issued following a complaint about a disabled man’s care.

In the original report, issued in July, the LGO upheld the man’s complaint that the council refused to fund his care because he had been awarded a personal injury claim in court.

St Helens Council refused to provide or fund home care services for the man, despite an assessment concluding he had ‘critical needs’. Social workers also delayed completing a care plan for him and failed to complete a financial assessment to determine what contribution the man should pay towards his care.

The man’s Deputy complained to the council and, when she was not satisfied with the council’s response, complained to the LGO.

During the LGO’s investigation, the council argued the man should have used his substantial damages claim to fund his care, and stated funding the man’s care would amount to ‘double recovery’. It also argued the issue should have been litigated in court.

The investigation decided the man should not have to use a personal injury settlement received on account of a road traffic accident to fund litigation against a public authority. It found the council at fault for not completing a care plan after the initial assessment was carried out, and for failing to pass on a copy of the care plan completed following the second assessment.

It also found the council at fault for not carrying out a financial assessment.

St Helens Council has since considered the Ombudsman’s report, and decided not to accept its findings.  The council reiterated the complaint raised the issue of ‘double recovery’ which needed to be decided by the High Court.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said:

“My report in July stated the legal position in this case was clear, and my position has not changed since then. I would not expect this vulnerable man to have to use his personal injury award to take legal proceedings against St Helens Council.

“I would urge the council to reconsider its response to my report and provide the remedy I have recommended.”

Article date: 01 December 2016