Council found at fault by ombudsman after delaying a Carer’s Assessment for two years from the date requested and even then failing to provide the outcome of the assessment to the carer

Mr X had a disabled mother. Although she received support from a care agency after a hospital stay, and Mr X worked full time, Mr X still provided some support to his mother when she was at home.

Mr X requested a carer’s assessment in 2016 and this was agreed by London Borough of Waltham Forest and scheduled to take place after Mr X returned from a planned period away from home. The Council failed to carry one out until June 2018.

During the review of Mr X’s mother in February 2017, there was a record of consultation with Mr X about the need for an increased care package for his mother. However, there was no record of his needs as a carer or the amount of support that he offered in that role.

That assessment was based on Mrs C’s views of the support she received from family or friends. The document summarised the impact of caring on Mrs C’s main carer’s independence was “Little/no restriction on activities”. It did not specifically refer to Mr X.

The Council has no record of:

  1. referring to Mr X’s previous request for a carer’s assessment;
  2. advising Mr X how he could ask for a carer’s assessment; or
  3. offering Mr X a carer’s assessment.

Following a review of Mr X’s mother in May 2017, it was noted that Mr X’s brother was involved but not Mr X himself, in spite of his request for a carer’s assessment.

A carer’s assessment was finally done in June 2018 following a complaint, and two days after his mother was admitted to a residential care home. Mr X’s mother was permanently admitted to the care home in July 2018.

The carer’s assessment was sent to Mr X in September 2018 outlining some support but not offering to implement it without giving a reason. The assessor recorded Mr X’s view about how caring for Mrs C affected him when she was at home. Mr X said his caring role had caused significant deterioration in his physical and mental health and significant restrictions in other areas of his life.

The Council said to the LGO that the mother going into a care home meant Mr X no longer met the Council’s criteria to be considered his mother’s carer – because the care home now met almost all Mrs C’s needs. The Council did not tell Mr X how Mrs C becoming a permanent care home resident affected his carer’s assessment.

Waltham Forest were found at fault for delaying the carer’s assessment, not including the carer’s position on impact in a review of Mr X’s mother’s care plan, and then when they did undertake the assessment, taking 3 months to send their findings to Mr X.

Legal points

Without any discussion, the LGO report says this: “While she is cared for elsewhere Mr X cannot be seen as her carer.”

This is not in line with the Care Act and is probably an error of law.

Section 10 does not give a council the right to disregard practical or emotional support provided to a person and the setting makes no difference. It cannot be said that a council has no judgement to make about who is a carer and who is not, but the threshold is very low and the absence of any discussion of what Mr X actually did for his mother once she had gone to the care home is problematic.

Compensation was recommended of £100.

Full Local Government Ombudsman’s report can be found at

https://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/adult-care-services/assessment-and-care-plan/18-006-436

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