Council payout for father due to authority’s lack of financial support for son

PUBLISHED: 16:08 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:08 14 November 2018

Town Hall.

Town Hall.

Archant

North Somerset Council’s carer’s assessments and support strategies have been criticised after a father was left to care for his child for 20 weeks without adequate information.

An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care (GSC) Ombudsman found the father was unable to make an informed choice about what support he could receive from the authority after he became a carer for his son, who has learning difficulties.

The dad, who has not been publicly identified in the report, complained about the council’s decision to charge his son for day care while his son was living with him.

He also complained about delay in finding an alternative placement and a lack of support for himself as a carer at a time when he had some health issues after the recent death of his wife, which caused him added ‘physical and emotional strain’.

The ombudsman blamed a lack of record-keeping for the council’s inability to evidence whether it had offered the father a carer’s assessment, something he said had been mentioned but not followed up.

The council also failed to explain his son would need to contribute to the cost of attending a day care centre after moving in with his dad, leaving him with an unexpected bill of £1,485.42.

In June 2016, the youngster went to live with his father after the placement he was living in broke down, all parties expected this would be a short-term arrangement but he ended up staying with his father for 21 weeks, only moving into a new placement in October.

The report said the dad felt he had to offer accommodation to his son because he ‘had nowhere else to go’ and he did not pursue a carer’s assessment because he was told any support would be means-tested.

He therefore assumed he would not qualify, leading to him caring for his son without financial support.

No direct payments to obtain support for his caring role were offered, with the council arguing this would have taken time to set up and caused him extra burden.

The ombudsman ruled the council was at fault and the authority agreed to pay £1,000 for the injustice caused by the failure to consider and provide support to him.

A council spokesman said the matter has now been fully dealt with.

They said: “We have carried out all the agreed actions regarding the case and the ombudsman is satisfied with this and is no longer involved in the case.”

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