Somerset County Council fails to complete assessment of woman’s needs

Somerset County Council has been asked to complete its assessment of a disabled woman’s needs following an earlier complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Following that complaint, the council had agreed to reassess the woman’s needs properly and consider her eligibility under the Care Act 2014.

However, the woman complained again to the Ombudsman, as although the council had carried out the reassessment, it failed to say whether the woman had eligible needs – and therefore whether she should have any financial support.

Ombudsman, Michael King explained:

“A needs assessment must contain two elements – an assessment of the person’s need for help and a decision on eligibility. Without establishing the woman’s eligibility the council cannot be satisfied she does not need a personal budget to meet any of her needs.

“I now urge Somerset County Council to complete the woman’s assessment and put in place the recommendations I have made to bring its assessments into line with the requirements of the Care Act.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case the council has agreed to apologise to the woman and pay her £250 for the trouble it has put her to. It will also update its assessment for the woman, so it includes a clear decision on eligibility, and share it with her.

The Ombudsman has the power to make recommendations to improve processes for the wider public. The council has agreed to ensure all its assessments include clear decisions on eligibility.

Article date: 21 June 2019

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