Ombudsman’s Report – Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council 05/C/07774

This report concerns the treatment of T an adult male living in a supported tenancy managed by Stockport BC.  The complainants were T’s parents who were dissatisfied with the way in which Stockport had treated their son and responded to their complaint.

During the period of T’s tenancy an allegation was made against him to the police by a female tenant, J.  At the time of the incident, the Council’s All-Agency Adult Protection Policy was in place.  This followed DH guidance in 2000 issued under s7 Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, that all local authorities should have in place policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse.  T was considered under this guidance and Stockport’s policy to be a ‘vulnerable adult’.  The allegation made by J against T resulted in him being informally interviewed by the Police in his own home. He had not been detained or interviewed at a police station and therefore the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 were not applicable.  T was then moved out of his tenancy for 3 months during which time the CPS made a decision not to prosecute him.
Stockport accepted that its staff did not fully understand either its All-Agency Adult Protection Policy or the implications of the term ‘vulnerable adult’. It accepted that T should have been treated as a vulnerable adult and should have been supported by the provision of an appropriate adult during his interview with the Police.  At the time of the Ombudsman’s investigation Stockport confirmed that all staff had completed training in its All-Agency Adult Protection Policy and that all new staff would do so as part of their induction. It made assurances to the Ombudsman that where possible it would provide support for vulnerable adults in such circumstances.  It also agreed to improve its book-keeping procedures for those in such supported tenancies.
While the T’s parents did not seek compensation when they brought the complaint to the Ombudsman’s attention, Stockport agreed to pay their son £500 for his distress and a further £100 for a recent incident of theft by another service user from him at his new home. Stockport also agreed to pay £500 for the time and trouble they spent in pursuing their complaint over a considerable period of time.

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