North Yorkshire Council’s financial valuation error costs £11,000

A COUNCIL facing tough decisions over funding for key services has lost more than £11,000 of taxpayers’ money after admitting it failed to properly advise how a vulnerable woman’s finances would be assessed.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has released a report outlining his findings into the complaint about North Yorkshire County Council, which resulted in the complainant being made responsible for all of her care costs.

Read more: “Pay what you can” to see new theater performances

The costly mistake follows the authority pointing out how the multi-billion pound increase in grant funding for local government announced by the Chancellor in the autumn ‘does not mean we are off the hook while the pressures to which we face, especially in adult social care…continues to increase”.

The ombudsman’s report said the council’s failure meant the value of the woman’s second property was taken into account, rather than being “ignored” from the sum of her assets.

The report also highlights how the woman’s daughter had complained that the council had met her mother to discuss her finances without her being present and persuaded the vulnerable woman to sign a deferred payment agreement.

She says: “Ms B also complained that although the town hall had dealt with her as her mother’s representative for many years, her mother not having the capacity, she refused to provide her with a copy of the deferred payment agreement or to discuss the charges with her.

“Mrs C has gone from paying nothing more than her assessed contribution for her care to paying £3,600 a month. This has caused Mrs B and Mrs C significant distress as they cannot afford to pay that much, and Mrs. B fears that she will become homeless in the future because she lives on Mrs. C’s property.”

The ombudsman concluded that the woman had suffered an “injustice” and under the Local Government Act 1974 the council had to table the report before a committee, place two public notices in local newspapers, make copies of the critical report available free of charge. and inform the Ombudsman of the actions he will take in response.

The ombudsman issued some eight recommendations to the authority, including why its approach to dealing with property in its policy had changed, who authorized the change and whether an assessment of the impact on vulnerable service users had been carried out. .

The recommendations also call on the council to drop charges against the woman and pay compensation for the distress caused and identify other instances where it has removed disregard for a service user’s property since April 2019.

Read more: Fancy a star bath? Here’s what it is and where you can get it

The report states: “If counsel finds fault similar to that identified in this

should follow the principles that the Ombudsman has set out to remedy any injustice caused.”

A council spokesperson said there were a total of six other instances where it had also removed a service user’s proprietary disregard since April 2019.

He said he accepted the ombudsman’s recommendations and acknowledged “there are improvements to be made to certain practices and processes, some of which have already been implemented.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated North Yorkshire Facebook page for all the latest news in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news from across the region straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter here.

Do you have a story for us? Contact our press office on [email protected] or contact 01325 505054

Comments are closed.