Failings or delays in Assessments, Reassessments & Reviews

This section of complaints covers a wide range of issues.

Reports highlight that people with complex needs are often discharged from hospital without assessment by social services, and that this is rarely from choice.

There are major problems with transition – a transition assessment is required to be undertaken as part of one of the statutory reviews of the EHC plan (Department of Health Statutory Guidance 16.11), unless there’s a very good reason why not.

People’s and Carers’ assessments are a statutory duty under the Care Act – triggered only by the appearance of needs for something in the nature of being looked after.

The LGO highlights that it is not only the law but good practice to involve the person and their family in the assessment process The LGO is more likely to find fault if the Council has not even attempted to involve or inform the person.

With regard to revisions to plans, and especially where support is being reduced or removed or suspended, the LGO considers whether the Council properly assessed a person, in terms of what the impact would be of a reduced package.

A person should be reassessed/reviewed every year (6 months if on direct payments, because the financial probity issue is greater, there). The LGO affords Councils some leeway, but generally states that over a year is an unreasonably long time between reviews, and may be considered as fault. The LGO considers the facts of the case and whether the delay was ‘reasonable and acceptable’. Failure properly to assess a person has an impact, in that people may be left with insufficient support, for an indefensible amount of time, and their informal carers unreasonably put upon.

Section 27 of the Care Act makes review, and revision, where it is considered necessary, a statutorily underpinned process, with definite steps and due process rights attached to it. It provides for review from time to time, or as per a schedule, or on the basis of any reasonable request by or on behalf of a service user. A change in circumstances is the trigger to an unscheduled review, and to a proportionate re-assessment if a review has revealed changes perceived to affect the plan. When a Council identifies a change in someone’s needs, it should be able to articulate on the basis of identified material what it thinks the change is.

Assessments are not assessments for services, but in terms of deficits, they are a good point to be considering the actual amount of support needed, ie how many hours of support, where and for what type. The LGO will only find fault, however, if the Council actually fails to meet the person’s needs.

Name of CouncilSubject MatterTitle of ReportNumber
WarwickshireCapacity AssessmentWarwickshire Council at fault regarding mental capacity assessments and failure to provide an advocate18 017 301
SeftonCapacity AssessmnetSefton Council at fault for failing to carry out a mental capacity assessment19 005 279
WorcestershireCapacity AssessmentWorcestershire Council at fault for delay in providing care and accommodation, for failure to assess capacity to make decisions, for failure regarding consideration of the need for advocacy, and failure to assess a carer 18 007 624
Surrey County et alCapacity AssessmentCouncil AND NHS at fault for failing to update care plans in readiness for transition, and follow up safeguarding concerns 18 016 501
CalderdaleCapacity Assessment/Needs AssessmentCalderdale Metropolitan Borough Council at fault for delays, and for failing to carry out relevant assessments at the point of hospital discharge 19 000 907
Royal Borough of GreenwichFailures Relating to AssessmentsRoyal Borough of Greenwich at fault for delays in assessment and making unsubstantiated accusations19 010 775
StaffordshireDoLS RequestsStaffordshire County Council found at fault for decision to use its own policy to avoid carrying out requested DoL Safeguards assessments18 004 809
Hestoncourt LtdEquipmentHestoncourt Limited at fault for providing inadequate care, and referred to the CQC for potentially falsifying records19 001 354
LancashireEquipmentLancashire County Council at fault for failing to ensure the right provision was in place at a care home, resulting in an unwanted move19 005 812
LincolnshireNeeds AssessmentLincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Lincolnshire East CCG found jointly at fault for failing to work together properly with regard to s117 aftercare18 012 682
SeftonNeeds AssessmentSefton Council at fault for failing to engage an appropriately qualified deafblind assessor19 017 266
SuffolkNeeds AssessmentSuffolk County Council at fault for carrying out flawed assessments and care plans and preventing a chosen representative from providing support during reviews17 018 391
StaffordshireNeeds AssessmentStaffordshire County Council at fault for delay in reassessment and not meeting an assessed eligible need19 011 306
Windsor and MaidenheadNeeds AssessmentRoyal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead at fault for failing to properly consider the risks when separating a married couple of 59 years, failing to provide adequate care and failing to provide appropriate complaint responses18 015 872
North YorkshireNeeds AssessmentNorth Yorkshire County Council at fault for failing to properly consider the need for maintaining a habitable home and being properly dressed19 013 234
HertfordshireNeeds AssessmentHertfordshire County Council found at fault for delegating responsibilities to Foundation Trust and ultimately for allowing it to fail to ensure sufficient assessment and discharge planning17 013 594
CroydonNeeds AssessmentLondon Borough of Croydon Council at fault for severe delays and unexplained systemic failures in transitioning to adult services, carers’ assessments and direct payments for the package18 015 014
Essex CountyNeeds AssessmentEssex County Council and Clinical Commissioning Group at fault for the way they assessed care needs and entitlement to Continuing Healthcare funding, Ombudsman finds 17 015 113
Norfolk CountyNeeds AssessmentNorfolk County Council at fault for failing to produce a clear care plan and incorrect advice on direct payments and Disability Related Expenditure 18 012 426
LambethNeeds AssessmentLambeth Council and the CCG at fault for delays in needs assessments and handling of a restitution claim17 005 393
Milton KeynesNeeds AssessmentMilton Keynes Council at fault for needs assessment flawed by a ‘last resort’ policy, for leaving a paid personal assistant working without pay – and for providing a care package clearly insufficient to meet needs18 003 035
South TynesideNeeds AssessmentSouth Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council at fault for failing to follow assessment guidelines in regards to deafblind clients, failing to backdate direct payments, and failing to investigate restriction of contact imposed by its commissioned care provider15 016 702
BuckinghamshireNeeds AssessmentBuckinghamshire County Council at fault for failing to commence section 42 safeguarding enquiries and for failing to provide a needs assessment 19 000 746
Norfolk CountyNeeds AssessmentNorfolk County Council at fault for failing to complete a follow-up of a newly reduced support plan 18 019 204
Norfolk CountyNeeds AssessmentNorfolk County Council found at fault for failing to meet assessed eligible needs with a care plan that allowed for a refusal of a carer (both paid and unpaid) to do any more – and now making restitution for that wrongdoing 19 002 258
SomersetNeeds AssessmentSomerset Council at fault for excessive delay, inadequate assessments, poor policy management and failure to address an increase in needs, properly 16 016 775
Bracknell ForestNeeds Assessment Bracknell Forest Council at fault for improper assessments and for failing to inform family of its social care rights 18 013 073
Bradford Metropolitan DistrictNeeds Assessment City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council at fault for serious delays in decision-making and failing to communicate properly 19 000 350
Brighton & HoveNeeds AssessmentBrighton & Hove Council NOT at fault with regard to its approach to a finding of non-eligibility 19 002 889
Buckinghamshire CountyNeeds AssessmentBuckinghamshire County Council at fault for failing to safeguard and properly assess a person 18 005 323
CroydonNeeds AssessmentCroydon Council at fault for serious delay in completing care assessment 18 016 105
Kirklees Metropolitan Needs AssessmentKirklees Metropolitan Council at fault for failing to assess needs properly 18 011 052
LewishamNeeds AssessmentLewisham Council at fault for delay in carrying out a care needs assessment; failure to consider the significance of an ASD assessment and failure to retain an Advocate 18 001 147
BromleyNeeds AssessmentLondon Borough of Bromley at fault for failing properly to consider a request for extra support 18 016 782
Hammersmith and FulhamSensory AssessmentLondon Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham found at fault for delays in completing a sensory assessment and in implementing reablement support18 019 465
Hammersmith and FulhamNeeds AssessmentLondon Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham at fault for delays in reviewing care and the carer’s and client’s packages 18 019 910
Waltham ForestNeeds AssessmentWaltham Forest 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 18 006 436
Kirklees MetropolitanRevision to Care Plan without ReviewKirklees Metropolitan Borough Council at fault for withdrawing vital services and failing to recognise its responsibility to respond to a subsequent crisis.19 009 200
Kirklees MetropolitanRevision to Care Plan without ReviewKirklees Council at fault for removing respite care and setting arbitrary limit to funding19 008 980
Kent CountyRevision to Care Plan without ReviewKent County Council at fault for incorrectly backdating payments18 002 469