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.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of HR/OD

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
£60,000 circa
The role will involve working closely with the Senior Leadership Team and Chief Executive to lead our People Strategy and... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Youth and Community Based Commissioner - Mid Essex

Essex County Council
£18117 - £19106.0 per annum
Annual Salary JNC Scale Points 3-6 £18,117 - £19,106 (1-2 in training) We are currently seeking a Youth and Community Based Commissioner to support t England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Strategic Rent Accountant

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
The successful candidate will be self-managing, troubleshoot to overcome obstacles and have proven experience of working effectively with a... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Principal Policy and Projects Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
Successful candidate will be an experienced strategic thinker with experience of delivering large-scale programmes and projects. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Mental Health Social Care Manager

Suffolk County Council
£47,167
You will play a key part in the Mental Health Service provision in Suffolk, supported by our Mental Health Strategy... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Suffolk County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine