The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) considers complaints made about Councils and Adult Social Care providers.
Decisions made by the LGO can be a useful guide for advisers and raise awareness of a possible failing or case that may not have been managed well. If you have a client or are considering whether to take a complaint to the LGO it is worth bearing in mind that this is a final stage.
A complaint would usually have been through an Authority or Provider complaints procedure. The LGO does not decide what is or is not fair but whether it was done fairly or caused a personal injustice. Focus on the maladministration or service failure and be guided by the LGO Factsheet which offers clear guidance on the what, when and how.
Financial and Charging decisions are often of interest, especially when they lead to the Council writing of a debt relating to care home fees! This was the case with Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (16 008 139) which is a great example of what to escalate to the LGO and how. A clear list of what the Council didn’t do correctly and they couldn’t prove otherwise!
This Deliberate Deprivation case South Gloucestershire Council (17 013 122) is evidence that identifying maladministration or an injustice and escalating a complaint to the LGO can work and this decision reminds us all to give due consideration to TIMING and INTENT rather than assume the reason is to deliberately avoid paying for care (or gain benefit entitlement in the case of the DWP).
More info and learning resources on Local Authority Charging and Deliberate Deprivation in the CAN members area.