September 2016 – Council Penalised for Excessive Delay
The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has found Herefordshire Council at fault for failing to move an applicant from an unsuitable care home for 11 months.
The applicant had a range of needs including autism spectrum disorder and staff in his care home were concerned about his behaviour as he was becoming increasingly withdrawn. Staff also struggled to implement recommendations of a speech and language therapist and did not develop a specific communication plan for him. The council assessment of his needs found that the home could not adequately meet his needs and recommended a move to a new home in the medium term. However, it took social workers 11 months to re-house him.
Whilst recognising that it can take some time to find an alternative placement, the LGO found that the 11-month delay in this case was excessive and caused injustice to the applicant.
The council agreed to remedy the injustice by apologising to the applicant and his mother, pay the applicant £2,000, pay his mother £500 in recognition of the time and trouble taken to pursue the complaint, and to provide appropriate training to social workers.
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