Austin Macauley 21 January 2016

Ombudsman calls for clearer advice on disability payments

Ombudsman calls for clearer advice on disability payments image

Adult social care teams have been urged to ensure they provide clear advice on disability payments following the case of a woman who was left without proper care and support.

An investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) found Central Bedfordshire Council had failed to provide the woman with sufficient information and did not deal with her complaints properly.

The LGO also found the council had 'failed to keep adequate records including her care needs assessment and records of meetings, and did not provide the woman with clear information about its assessments and calculations'.

Together with a series of other failings, it left the woman without a proper support plan and meant she had less care than she should have received.

'[She] has not had an accurate financial assessment since 2010 so is likely to have been wrongly charged, and has suffered significant and avoidable distress and frustration.'

The council has been asked to apologise to the woman, confirm that it will not seek to reclaim any unpaid contributions and write off any debts it is trying to recover. The LGO also called on the council to pay £5,000 to compensate for her lack of care and support and £2,000 for the distress caused.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said: 'Negotiating the different financial requirements of the adult social care system can be a daunting prospect for people. Local authorities need to remember that many people are relying upon clear and accurate advice and support from their council to help them make informed choices about their care.

'This case highlights the consequences when that clear advice is not available leading to a vulnerable woman receiving less care and support than she might have been entitled to for a number of years.

'I am pleased Central Bedfordshire Council has agreed to my recommendations and hope the remedies I have recommended will improve the situation for this woman and ensure this sort of confusion does not happen again for other people.'

Julie Ogley, director of social care, health and housing at Central Bedfordshire Council said: 'We have listened to all the feedback and recommendations from the Ombudsman about this case and are taking action to meet these.

'We completely agree with Dr Martin that the different financial requirements of the adult social care system can be daunting but we really do want the process of direct payments to be as clear, simple and straightforward as possible. These recommendations will help us in our efforts to make it an easier process for people.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Part Time Occupational Therapist - Children & Families

Essex County Council
£39168 - £42254 per annum
Part Time Occupational Therapist - Children & Families - ColchesterPermanent, Part Time£30,906 to £42,254 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

School Crossing Patrol Officer

Essex County Council
Up to £8.92 per hour
School Crossing Patrol Officer Temporary, Term Time £8.92 per hour Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Associate Educational Psychologist

Essex County Council
Up to £450.00 per day + Limited
Associate Educational Psychologist Temporary, Part-Time £450 Ltd per day Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Team Manager - SGO and Connected Person Fostering

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Team Manager - Special Guardianship Order and Connected Person FosteringPermanent, Full Time£47,405 to £58,727 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Duty Senior - Assessment and Intervention

Essex County Council
£39168 - £47405 per annum + + Free Parking & Benefits Package
Duty Senior - Assessment and Intervention - Chelmsford basedPermanentFull Time£39,168 to £47,405 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue