Hampshire County Council has been criticised by the local government Ombudsman after the local authority failed to meet an elderly man’s needs when his finances ran short.
The man, who has dementia, paid for the care he received in his home. However, in Spring 2019 a relative alerted the council that the man’s capital had fallen below the £23,250 threshold.
An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found that the local authority failed to complete a Care Act compliant assessment. This meant that the council left the man to pay for his own support.
In September 2019, the relative then gave the council evidence that the man’s needs had increased. This should have triggered a review of his needs by social workers, but none was carried out until June 2020, at which point the council increased the man’s budget.
‘Where people have assessed care needs, councils must place equal importance on all those needs, and have a duty to meet them,’ said the Ombudsman Michael King.
‘They cannot, as it appears in this case, pass that duty onto the person themselves. This is the second case we have highlighted recently where councils have appeared to sideline people’s needs to maintain their home.
‘I am pleased the council has agreed to my recommendations, and hope the changes it has pledged to make to the way it carries out assessments of people’s needs, will ensure it meets all of its duties to the people of Hampshire in future.’
A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: 'We always try to do our level best to get things right first time for Hampshire residents, and we take any issues raised very seriously. Where we haven’t been able to resolve things directly with the member of the public, we work closely with the Local Government Ombudsman to address the issue, to learn from our mistakes and improve our services along the way.
'In this case, Hampshire County Council has accepted in full the recommendations of the Ombudsman and we have apologised to the individual. Steps have also already been taken to apply the findings of this case and they will form part of a review into working practices between teams.'