Mark Whitehead 04 September 2019

Ombudsman criticises county for failing to complete agreed remedy

Staffordshire County Council has come under fire from the local government ombudsman for failing to carry out remedies agreed following an investigation.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said it had failed to apologise in good time to a woman who had complained about her care and support plan.

The woman, who has mental and physical health needs, raised her problems with the council to the Ombudsman on two separate occasions.

Following the last complaint, the council agree to apologise to her, pay a financial remedy and assign a social worker to reassess her needs.

Now the Ombudsman’s says the council did not apologise and make the payment within the agreed time, and also criticised the council’s response to recommended service improvements.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said the council should meet the woman and her advocate if she completes another self-assessment form, so that she can deliver it to the relevant office and discuss it with her advanced social work practitioner.

It should also apologise to her and pay a further £500 for the distress caused and the trouble she has been put to.

Mr King said: 'People can only have confidence in their local authorities if they stick to their word and carry out actions they have agreed.

'In this case, a vulnerable woman with mental health difficulties has been let down twice, and her trust in her local council has been eroded.

'I now urge Staffordshire County Council to agree to my recommendations and do what it can to ensure this woman receives the care she needs, subject to her engaging with the process.'

Leader of Staffordshire County Council, Philip Atkins, said: 'This has been a complex and challenging case for the authority from the beginning and we have changed some of our procedures.

'All the things the Ombudsman has asked for have been enacted, but, given the sensitivities of this particular case we have focused on doing the right thing at the right time for the individual involved rather than insisting on certain actions simply to comply with the deadline.'

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