William Eichler 29 August 2019

Council apologises for leaving family in ‘overcrowded conditions’ for 10 years

Council apologises for leaving family in ‘overcrowded conditions’ for 10 years image

Lancashire County Council has apologised after a woman and her family were left living in what the LGO described as ‘significantly overcrowded conditions’ for more than a decade.

A mother of three, who also took on the care of her two grandchildren, was promised an extension to her three-bedroomed terraced house by the council as part of a Care Order granted in 2005.

The woman bought her house as agreed with the council and plans were drawn up in 2007 to add an extra bedroom and shower room, and to extend the downstairs kitchen/dining area and utility room.

However, the council only agreed a budget for the work in 2011 and then in 2016 the council told the woman the extension would no longer be built because the proposed costs had increased by £50,000.

In the meantime, the woman and her daughter slept on mattresses in the living room while the whole family slept in what the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman described as ‘significantly overcrowded conditions’.

‘Lancashire County Council agreed to extend the woman’s property as part of a Care Order, which was made to promote the welfare of her two vulnerable grandchildren,’ said LGO Michael King.

‘The council failing to comply with the order is extremely serious, and it could have put the children’s placement at risk.

‘Throughout the period five children have grown up and become young adults – because of the overcrowding, the whole family has struggled with a lack of privacy and emotional development. The extension would have significantly improved their living conditions had it been built as agreed.

‘While the remedy we have recommended cannot make up for the long-term distress of living in such overcrowded conditions, I hope it can go some way to providing for a stable future for the family.’

The council has agreed to write and send an apology to the woman, and pay her £24,000 to reflect the avoidable distress she and her family suffered.

It will also pay her £500 for the distress and uncertainty caused by the local authority’s failure to make a decision in line with the care order on funding for a people carrier.

A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: ‘We have fully apologised to the person involved, and we are very sorry for the distress our failings have caused.

‘The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has identified a number of actions and we've drawn up a plan to address all the shortcomings that were outlined in the report.’

Let’s tell a new story image

Let’s tell a new story

Graham Allen says a focus on social care being solely about getting people out of hospital only diverts attention from keeping as many people as possible away from unnecessary admission.
Revolutionising mental health image

Revolutionising mental health

Cllr Jasmine Ali explains how Southwark Council is putting plans into action to revolutionise children’s mental health in Southwark.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Child and Family Support Worker

Essex County Council
Plus Excellent Benefits
The purpose of this role is to work within frontline teams to support the delivery of effective Children's Social Work. England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Part Time Community Rail Partnership Officer

Essex County Council
£24000 - £26275 per annum + Plus Excellent Benefits Package
Please note that this position is being offer on a part time basis, covering 23 hours per week. Working Pattern TBC. England, Essex, Rochford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Duty Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£19,554 - £21,166
The successful candidate will work across a rota pattern that includes regular evening and weekend working and will be responsible for... Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Business Support Officer - Learning and Early Support

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Duties will include... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Plant and Motor Vehicle Technician - 3 jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £26,317
You will carry out vehicle inspections, servicing, maintenance and repairs to vehicles and plants operated by Kirklees Council in... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how public sector organisations can unlock the hidden value in their land, and why a new approach to construction could help boost the outcomes of the Government’s One Public Estate programme.

The December issue also considers why learnings from ancient cities could provide the key to promoting wellbeing in the modern built environment. It also contains a case study on how the London Borough of Westminster has provided high quality care for the elderly alongside a block of luxury apartments.

Register for your free digital issue