Mark Whitehead 21 June 2019

Council criticised for handling of disabled woman’s case

Somerset County Council has been told to complete its assessment of a disabled woman’s needs after failing to comply with an earlier ruling by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Last July the ombudsman Michael King recommended the council to reassess the woman’s needs properly and consider her eligibility under the Care Act 2014.

However the woman complained to the ombudsman again, saying that although the council had carried out the reassessment, it had failed to say whether she had eligible needs and was therefore entitled to financial support.

Now Mr King says the council should apologise to the woman, pay her £250 compensation and give a clear decision on her assessment.

He said: '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.’

A spokesperson form Somerset County Council said: 'We work hard to get things right every time. In this case we did not met the standards we set for ourselves and will be apologising and making the payment as instructed by the Ombudsman.

'A Care Act compliant assessment has been carried out and to reduce the risk of a similar situation happening again we have reviewed our paperwork and practice guidance around Care Act eligibility.

'This will be implemented across our Adult Social Care service, including our mental health and services working in hospital settings.'

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