Shropshire Council rapped for not paying couple £60,000 over care failings

Shropshire Council has been rapped for refusing to pay a vulnerable woman and her husband £60,000 in compensation for failing to provide suitable care – despite being told to hand over the cash more than 18 months ago.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said the authority had “further let down” the couple by failing to act on the recommendations of a report first published in April 2013.

She said the council had also failed to show it had taken steps to review its complaints procedure in the wake of the case.

She rejected the council’s idea to pay the husband compensation based on loss of earnings and accused officials at Shirehall of choosing to “avoid responsibility for the consequences of its failings”.

The couple, who have not been named, had made a complaint to the council after the woman’s husband was forced to give up his job to provide round-the-clock care for her. The couple claimed the council had failed to properly assess her needs between February 2008 and April 2010.

Shropshire Council was unavailable for comment. At the time of the first report the authority claimed the recommendations were “wholly disproportionate to the needs of the case”.

In her first report in April last year, Dr Martin ruled there had been maladministration by the council and recommended that £61,270 was paid to the husband.

After the council failed to act, Dr Martin issued a second report in January this year calling on the council to “remedy the injustice”.

In her latest report, Dr Martin said: “When presenting her further report to its councillors the Ombudsman finds the council failed to engage with the points she put forward. While the council cited concerns about its budget its failed to recognise that by not assessing the complainant’s needs property it did not allocate resources that should have been spent on her needs between February 2008 and April 2010.

“It also failed to recognised the need to properly recompense the complaint’s husband as the burden of that care fell to him.

“The Ombudsman considers her recommendations throughout this case have been proportionate, appropriate and consistent with the principles of good complaint handling. She finds the council’s approach unjustified. As it has chosen to avoid responsibility for the consequence of its failings it has thereby further let down a vulnerable woman and her husband.

“When considered alongside the council’s actions in this case, it casts further doubt on the council’s ability and commitment to treat complainants fairly and put matters right where it has made mistakes.”

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Comments for: "Shropshire Council rapped for not paying couple £60,000 over care failings"

Nemesis

Shropshire Council's current Service Standards document claims that they will "focus on meeting the needs of our customers" and "apologise to you if we are at fault and put matters right as quickly as possible". These grand ideals are printed next to a picture of the grinning face of Cllr Keith Barrow.

Where is Cllr Barrow now? Where is the apology? Where is the remediation?

Senior management should be ashamed that the Local Government Ombudsman has had to resort to so many attempts to make them accept their own maladministration. You're the Head of Reputation Management, Cllr Barrow - remember, or do you simply not care anymore?

oh_dearie_me

Alas, I suspect the damage that has been done will not be revealed for a few years. Or the cost.

It will likewise be a few years before the behind the scenes stuff and political shenanigans will become clear. By which time of course, the current bunch will long have scarpered, leaving someone else with an awfully big mess to clean up.

oh_dearie_me

WHY is the Council "unavailable for comment"?

They don't have that right. They have been found guilty of maladministration. The Ombudsman's judgement is clear and unambiguous. Fire the people responsible and make a statement about it.

If people looked into the various performance tables and data that is available, they would be truly shocked how bad this council is. And that's down to the leaders and senior executives I suspect, rather than the dwindling numbers of staff.

ATL

This is absolutely appalling behaviour by Shropshire Council. I hope the Care Quality Commission take notice of this when they do their next inspection.

Erick Pickles needs to sort them out on this issue.

Doodles

The arrogance of Shropshire Council in this matter is bad enough in itself but what is even more worrying is that if the Council can choose to ignore what the Ombudsman says, what hope is there for any of us who want to bring a complaint against the Council? If we are not entitled to legal aid but cannot afford to privately take the Council to Judicial Review (and most of us fall into that category) then we can have absolutely no confidence that our voice counts for anything. And that is a very dangerous precedent for any Council to set ... especially if there are elections on the horizon. No wonder they are not available for comment.

BK

I sense councillors and staff at the administration wouldn't wait that long for a salary or allowances to be paid.

Unfortunately it's the norm for council, police etc, someone does something to glee about and a raft of press managers and bosses are camping at the door of the media organisations to crow about how good we've been, something goes 7175 up and everyone is in a meeting and there's nobody available.

Derp

Shropshire Council isn't fit for purpose.