Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Vulnerable man missing £10k following exploitation risk enabled by Essex social worker delays

13 February, 2016 - 12:47
Chelmsford County Hall, home of Essex County Council

Chelmsford County Hall, home of Essex County Council

The family of an elderly man who risked being exploited by a female friend are to be reimbursed by Essex County Council over missing money after a watchdog ruling.

Social workers delayed acting on the family’s concerns about possible exploitation, the Local Government Ombudsman has found.

The delay led to “significant” sums being withdrawn from the man’s bank account unchecked, and meant the family had to go through seven months of court proceedings to gain access to his house and affairs when he died in February 2013.

When they did gain access the property had been ransacked and documents were missing. Copies of bank statements later showed the regular withdrawal of money over seven months totalling more than £10,000.

The man, in his 80s and who lived alone, fell ill in March 2012 and was admitted to hospital before being transferred to a care home.

Concerns were raised by relatives about the friend in a joint meeting with a social worker in July.

The ombudsman found the council should have had serious concerns about possible financial abuse in November when a financial assessment was carried out, and that a social worker failed to take action following a mental capacity assessment in December.

The council referred the case to the police, who found no evidence the friend had stolen the money.

Following a complaint by the man’s nephew, Essex County Council accepted its record-keeping was poor and the social worker’s performance was below expectations. It also accepted it had responsibility to safeguard the man from abuse.

It offered to pay the nephew £250 and reimburse contributions the man had paid for care home charges between April and August, and the sums taken out of his bank account from December 2012.

However the nephew complained to the Local Government Ombudsman, who found the council delayed allocating a social worker for four months and delayed acting on the social worker’s request for a financial assessment for three months.

An investigation found the council at fault for failing to take action to safeguard the man and for failing to have regular supervisory sessions.

Dr Jane Martin, the Local Government Ombudsman, said: “In this case, and despite a number of warnings, social workers were slow to react and the man was put at risk of exploitation.” In addition to the council’s previous offer the ombudsman has asked the authority to pay the man’s estate £4,285.03, equal to the unexplained regular withdrawals from his bank account between November 2012 and February 2013.

It should also provide the nephew with a written apology and pay him £150 for the distress caused.

A council spokesman said: “We consider the safety and well-being of people in residential care to be an absolute priority.

“As such, since this incident, operations have been comprehensively reviewed to safeguard against such an event happening again.

“The steps taken include reorganising teams, additional training and a full supervision audit.

“There has also been an increase in overall investment in the social work area, increasing the numbers of posts in the workforce. Recruitment remains a challenge, but adult operations are now better resourced than they were at the time of the complaint.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

A road/rail vehicle used to install new overhead wires at Shenfield in Essex.

If it’s a bank holiday, Network Rail must be closing the main line to London again!

Chris May's family: Mum Lorraine May and sisters Gemma and Charlene May.

The family of missing Kelvedon man Chris May have asked anyone withholding any information which might help solve his disappearance to call police and help end their “suffering”.

Photo issued by Essex Police of James Fairweather. Photo: Essex Police/PA Wire

A double murderer who killed two people in less than three months hopes to appeal his jail sentence on the grounds it is “excessive.”

Suffolk County Council and Active Norfolk Aviva Women's Tour media ride launched in Southwold on Wednesday 25th May.

Some of the best female cyclists in the world visited Suffolk yesterday as preparations for next month’s Aviva Women’s Tour.

Clive Hambling, pictured with with his 1958 Ford Consul at a previous event.

More than 50 classic vehicles are to be displayed along the seafront of a Suffolk town this bank holiday weekend.

Watch the new equestrian challenge

There are just days to go until the gates open for the 2016 Suffolk Show, and with an action packed programme set to please visitors, organisers have shared their top 10 new things to enjoy at this year’s show:

The A-10 aircraft heads along the A14 from RAF Alconbury to Bentwaters Cold War Museum on the former RAF Bentwaters airfield.

It was once a familiar sight over Suffolk – but the A-10 Thunderbolt II has been seldom seen since the twin bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge closed in 1993.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24