A parent refused to sign a council’s safety plan (relating to support for her disabled son) because it implied that she had on one occasion refused to allow workers to leave her home, when it was not safe. The ombudsman found that the council’s allegation was not supported by the facts.
Nevertheless, the allegation remained on the council’s records and the ombudsman accepted that this had caused her distress –‘as it would anyone who felt they had been unfairly accused of something this serious’. The Council was not prepared to provide support for her son until the plan was signed and given this intransigence – as is so often the case – the parent eventually withdrew from the service.
The ombudsman considered that it was ‘particularly unnecessary’ for the council not to have resolved the complaint – such that it had then to progress to his office – and that it was understandable that the parent would be reluctant to sign the agreement. Somehow, however, the report then concludes that the decision to ‘withdraw from the Council’s support services completely, was hers’.
So, in this case the council’s improper behaviour meant that it avoided paying for services for over a year (and presumably indefinitely into the future) and the ombudsman concludes that responsibility for this loss rests with the mother.
Why does it always seem to end with parent blame?