National Ombudsmen
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Worcestershire Council criticised over support for young man’s care

There were faults in the way Worcestershire County Council handled the care needs of a young man with cerebral palsy over several years.

There were faults in the way Worcestershire County Council handled the care needs of a young man with cerebral palsy over several years, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. In her report, issued today, she recommends the Council to pay £9,000 to the young man’s mother to reflect the lost opportunity for her to receive more support in caring for her son. The Council has agreed to this in addition to the £4,000 it has already agreed to pay to reflect her son’s own suffering and inconvenience.

The young man was totally dependent on the 24-hour care he received from his mother. She complained that the Council failed to provide them with advice, guidance or support with accessing direct payments to which they were entitled for several years. She says that, as a result, she struggled to cope with her son’s needs over a number of years and considerable strain was placed on her and her family.

The Ombudsman went on to criticise other aspects of the Council’s handling of the case:

  • the 2004 assessment of the young man’s needs was deficient
  • reviews were not sent out to him or his mother for signature – so they had no opportunity to challenge the Council’s impression of their caring arrangements, and
  • carer’s assessments were not offered to the mother for three years.

The Ombudsman considers that the faults she identified have caused significant injustice to the family.

The Ombudsman says: “I am pleased to note that direct payments are now in place,” and adds “This young man’s mother has cared for her son over many years, whose best interests have been her foremost concern. I also recognise the considerable sacrifices she and her family have made.”

The Ombudsman’s finding of maladministration causing injustice has been published as a report because it raises issues of wider public interest and highlights how important it is for local authorities to ensure these crucial services are properly managed.

For legal reasons, the real names of people involved are not used in the report.

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