Family of disabled boy left without housing adaptations because of council delay
Haringey council took so long to complete adaptations to a disabled boy’s home that he had outgrown the proposals, a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation has heard.
The boy, who has severe disabilities, was initially assessed as needing the adaptations in 2015 which included a through floor lift, a ceiling track hoist system and changing benches in the bathroom and downstairs toilet.
Delays because of the council and family’s circumstances meant no progress was made until the start of 2019. But when a contractor attempted to carry out the work, they found it not feasible because of structural issues.
By the time the family and council spoke again about installing the adaptations, the family said they would like a revised plan because so much time had passed, and their son had grown since the original assessment. An occupational therapist (OT) visited and, despite the family saying a deep bath was an ‘essential requirement’, recommended a shower trolley instead.
The family complained to the council that the OT’s recommendation was in direct conflict with a previous assessment which stated their son was unable to tolerate a shower as the sensation distressed him. They said they also felt bullied into accepting the recommendations, despite explaining a shower bench was unsafe because of their son’s involuntary movements.
The family has been shielding since March 2020 and no progress has been made. They say they just want the ceiling tracks for the hoists installed and no longer want the adaptations made to the downstairs toilet.
The Ombudsman’s investigation criticised the council for its part in the delays between October 2016 and February 2019. There were further delays between February 2019 and September 2019 – particularly in installing the changing benches which should have been put in at the time of the initial work.
The Ombudsman also criticised the council for not fully involving the family and considering their concerns, leading them to feel they could not challenge the decision or seek an alternative option.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:
“This case highlights the importance of carrying out adaptations to properties in a timely fashion, particularly where growing children are concerned.
“For much of the time the council did not keep in contact with the family to let them know about progress – so they were left not knowing what was going to happen and when. At the very least, the council should have put in place interim solutions while the major work was being sorted out.
“This has led to a breakdown in communication and trust between the family and the council, particularly when new recommendations contradicted previous assessments.
“The council now needs to consider my report and put in place the remedies I have recommended.”
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case the council should apologise to the parents and pay them £2,000 to recognise the delay. It should also contact the parents about the outstanding works.
The Ombudsman has the power to make recommendations to improve processes for the wider public. The council has already carried out a recommended review to identify where it could improve its service in this area.
Latest News from
Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill laid in Parliament05/12/2016 12:37:21
A new complaints body will provide the public with greater confidence that their voices have been heard.
Councillor’s decision to put brakes on housing development flawed, says Ombudsman19/01/2022 11:25:00
A Haringey man was left in limbo for six years while the council decided whether to buy his house and develop the land around it, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman heard.
London council set to learn from how it handled COVID business grants14/01/2022 16:15:00
Camden Council has agreed to reconsider how it will deal with businesses that missed out on COVID grants following an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
Over 118,000 people denied compensation from DWP after benefits error cut payments13/01/2022 14:15:00
Over 118,000 people with disabilities and health problems are facing injustice by the Department of Work and Pensions after being denied the right to compensation following a government blunder over benefit payments, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has said today.
Ombudsman responds to findings of Health and Social Care Committee report: Clearing the backlog caused by the pandemic07/01/2022 13:20:00
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Rob Behrens, has responded to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report, 'Clearing the backlog caused by the pandemic'.
Annual Report details how Ombudsman adapted during the pandemic10/12/2021 11:20:00
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has published its Annual Report and Accounts 2020-21, welcoming the resilience of its staff in a challenging year for everyone.
Croydon man not supported properly when he moved to new home08/12/2021 16:15:00
London Borough of Croydon did not do enough to support a man with Autism, and his mother who looked after him, an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.
“Strengthening and modernising”: Ombudsman sets out proposals to strengthen public voice03/12/2021 09:15:00
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has launched its vision for the way its work might develop and change.
Ombudsman issues guidance to help domestic abuse survivors26/11/2021 16:15:00
“If it keeps even a single person safe from abuse it’s worth it” is the message the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is sending out as it calls on councils to use its latest report to examine the services they provide to victims of domestic abuse.