An expression of righteous anger might sometimes not be amiss?
In 2019 the ombudsman published a report which criticised a council for its decision to (among other things) reduce a disabled person’s care and support plan without a proper assessment of his needs. A decision that the ombudsman considered to be ‘financially motivated’. The ombudsman was clearly unhappy with the whole approach of the authority: with the way it had treated the individual, his parent carers and with its social care support literature that was ‘so contrary to the provisions of the Care Act that citizens may be put off from approaching the Council for support’. The ombudsman recommended that a ‘symbolic payment’ of £1,000 be paid to the disabled person (and a like payment to his parents for their separate complaints). The council also agreed to review the assessment and ‘produce a care and support plan which reflects [the disabled person’s] needs over a seven-day period and explain in detail how these needs will be met’.
In February 2021, the ombudsman declared himself satisfied with the council’s response. However the disabled person’s father was not – as the council’s reassessment had come to exactly the same decision – (ie to reduce his adult son’s weekly support hours from 13 hours per week to 6) without there being any evidential basis for the reduction. On considering this further the ombudsman agreed that this was the case and the council agreed to reinstate the support hours to 13 per week.
Having done this the ombudsman’s investigator declared this to be satisfactory and that no further remedy was required. One wonders how many other people have had their support hours cut without an adequate evidential basis for the reduction – and what authorities have to lose by continuing to do this? All it seems they have to fear is that they will have to make a ‘symbolic payment’ and reinstate support to those that have the courage, energy and ability to mount a complaint to the ombudsman – twice.
 Complaint no 18 015 558 against Nottinghamshire County Council, 6 November 2021.
Posted 18 July 2021