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Disabled man was improperly banned from having his mum as personal carer by Lincolnshire County Council, ombudsman rules

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A disabled man was improperly banned from employing his mum as his personal carer by a council.

Social workers failed to properly consider the request, which had been beneficial for him in the past, the Local Government Ombudsman has found.

The man, who is named only as Mr B in the report, has a severe learning disability, autism and epilepsy, and can exhibit behaviour which causes harm to himself or other people.

Lincolnshire County Council.
Lincolnshire County Council.

When his care centre closed during the pandemic, the council for the area in which they were living at the time decided his mother could be employed as his full-time personal carer.

She quit her job to take the role and they moved to Lincolnshire shortly afterwards.

Lincolnshire County Council found Mr B was entitled to 35 hours of paid care every week, but said this couldn’t be from a family member.

Lincolnshire County Council.
Lincolnshire County Council.

Mr B’s parents complained, saying his complex needs meant he couldn’t be cared for by strangers. His autism also meant he struggled to deal with change.

Despite letters from his psychiatrist and learning disability nurse, the council said there weren’t exceptional circumstances to justify his mother looking after him.

However, the government ombudsman says the council didn’t properly look into this option or consider expert opinions.

The report says: “I am concerned that the council appears to have a blanket policy to refuse such requests and no apparent procedure for determining if there are exceptional circumstances, setting out what evidence it would take into account or recording the outcome.”

Lincolnshire County Council has admitted it didn’t communicate well with Mr B.

It has agreed to reconsider whether Mr B’s mother could be his paid carer within a month. It will also review how it makes decisions like these.

Joanna Tubb, head of learning disabilities at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The role of the ombudsman is not to look at the decision itself, but to assess whether the council followed its processes when making the decision, and whether it was communicated effectively.

"We accept that in this case, we could have communicated better with Mr B about his case.

“In line with the ombudsman’s decision, we will be reconsidering the request and reviewing our processes to make sure that we’re communicating effectively with all our service users.”

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