The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has called on Somerset County Council to put in place the recommendations he has made to bring its assessments into line with the requirements of the Care Act.
Michael King made the recommendations when calling on the local authority to complete its assessment of a disabled woman’s needs following an earlier complaint.
Following that complaint, Somerset had agreed to reassess the woman’s needs properly and consider her eligibility under the Care Act 2014.
However, the woman complained again to the Ombudsman, as although the council had carried out the reassessment, it failed to say whether she had eligible needs – and therefore whether she should have any financial support.
The council has agreed to:
- apologise to the woman;
- pay her £250 for the trouble it has put her to;
- update its assessment for the woman, so it includes a clear decision on eligibility, and share it with her; and
- ensure all its assessments include clear decisions on eligibility.
Mr King said: “A needs assessment must contain two elements – an assessment of the person’s need for help and a decision on eligibility. Without establishing the woman’s eligibility the council cannot be satisfied she does not need a personal budget to meet any of her needs.
“I now urge Somerset County Council to complete the woman’s assessment and put in place the recommendations I have made to bring its assessments into line with the requirements of the Care Act.”