London council to revise its social care charging policy following Ombudsman’s investigation
London Borough of Bexley has agreed to revise its social care charging policy after a man complained to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman about the way the authority increased its costs.
The man told the Ombudsman the council had increased the amount it charged him in administration costs for it to manage his mother’s domiciliary care package. He said as a result the cost increased by 200 per cent.
The man had been paying a flat fee of £260 per year to the council for arranging and administering the care, but the council changed the way it charged for this service and instead charged everyone 6.1% of a person’s care and support package. This led to the man now having to pay £793 per annum.
The man complained to the council but the council delayed responding to his concerns. Initially it did not uphold his complaint, but after further discussion it accepted that those with larger packages were paying too much – and more than the actual costs the council incurred.
The council has since proposed a new policy based on a banded system. However there is still uncertainty about whether the new policy will ensure people are not over charged.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:
“The blanket charge brought in by the council is not in line with statutory guidance and has meant some people in the Bexley area are paying over the odds, and more than the costs incurred by the council.
“The council now needs to put in place a system that is fair to all and ensure the new charging policy is in line with government guidance.”
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 man and pay him £150 for the time and trouble in making the complaint.
The Ombudsman has the power to make recommendations to improve processes for the wider public. In this case the council will remind staff about dealing with complaints in a timely manner, addressing the complaints made, and put in place a revised charging policy.
It will also retrospectively apply any new or revised policy from May 2019 to the family and other similarly affected people and, if applicable, credit or refund their accounts.
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.
Croydon council to review how it looks after overcrowded families following Ombudsman report23/06/2022 11:15:00
London Borough of Croydon has agreed to review its services to homeless families in temporary accommodation, after a mother had her complaint upheld by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
Popular Surrey school to rehear place appeal following Ombudsman investigation17/06/2022 13:20:00
An over-subscribed Surrey school has agreed to rehear a mum’s appeal for a school place after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found issues with the way the original hearing was recorded.
Worcestershire stroke survivor left without support she needed08/06/2022 13:25:00
A Worcestershire woman who had had a stroke was left without appropriate care for 12 months because the county council took too long to set up her direct payments.
City council didn’t do enough to help abused resident27/05/2022 09:15:00
Coventry City Council did not consider what else it could do to help a man who was subject to homophobic abuse when he called on officers to help, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.
Councils warned to ensure grant processes are transparent following Ombudsman complaint20/05/2022 14:20:00
Councils administering Disabled Facilities Grants need to ensure their processes are transparent and accountable, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has said.
Equal access for all should be at the heart of services, Ombudsman says19/05/2022 11:15:00
Local authorities across England need to ensure disabled people are at the heart of how their services operate, so nobody in their community is placed at a disadvantage, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has said.
Council’s failure to pay agreed grant leaves family living on building site12/05/2022 14:30:00
A Croydon family was left to live on a building site for nearly two years after their local council failed to pay an agreed grant on time, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.