William Eichler 14 May 2019

Council pays out over £40,000 for ‘mistakes’ in respite centre closure

Southampton City Council has paid thousands of pounds in compensation after an Ombudsman ruled that the authority had caused ‘avoidable distress’ when it closed a respite centre.

In March the Local Government Ombudsman found that families' needs were not properly assessed when the council closed down the Kentish Road centre in 2017 for adults with learning disabilities.

The city council has paid out £40,375 in compensation with most carers due £250-£500 each in recognition of the ‘avoidable uncertainty and distress caused.’

The centre has since reopened at weekends.

‘One of my first actions as leader was to apologise unreservedly to the individuals and families previously affected by the way the Kentish Road closure was handled,’ said Cllr Christopher Hammond, leader of Southampton City Council.

‘This was not the council’s finest hour, and mistakes were made.

‘As a council, one of our most important jobs is to make sure vulnerable people, their families and carers are well supported and cared for. I am passionate about making sure we do that in a way which builds on people’s strengths and supports them to live their fullest life.

‘A huge amount of work has happened in the last year to improve our services, and we are all committed to continuing that work and making sure there is the right mix of care in the city for those who need it.’

A special Governance Committee meeting has been scheduled for today to consider the Ombudsman findings, as well as other lessons learned and the improvement actions that have been taken.

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