Essex: Disabled man’s “significant injustice” over Essex County Council’s two-year care delay

LONG delays by Essex County Council in providing services for a disabled man caused him “significant injustice”, a report has concluded.

Local Government Ombudsman Anne Seex said the authority took almost two years to agree and put in place resources for the man’s care. The council has agreed to the Ombudsman’s recommendation to pay �43,000 to the 25-year-old and his mother to reflect the services he should have received.

In her report, published today, she says the delay caused “significant injustice” to the man, known as Mr M, who was “socially isolated and struggled to cope with living independently” and who had “episodes of feeling low, suffered anxiety and was self-harming”. The report said at the time of the complaint 21 months ago Mr M lived on his own in a flat and the council’s social worker assessed him as needing 30 hours a week care, including help with shopping and meals; support to attend medical appointments and to socialise; reminders to take medication, do housework and laundry; and attend to personal hygiene. Mr M has a rare genetic disorder, mild learning disabilities and mental health problems and, following an assault eight years ago, has mild paralysis on the left side of his body, tremors and chronic pain in his spine.

Mr M’s mother complained 21 months after initially asking for help and 18 months after her son had been assessed.

It was only two months later that Essex County Council agreed funding.

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It took seven months for Mr M’s case to be referred to a board of officers from adult social care who did not agree to fund the services he needed.

The board referred the case to another panel who never considered it, meaning the council lost sight of the case.

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The social worker asked for the case to be transferred to someone else because she could not get funding agreed.

The Ombudsman found maladministration by the council because it took almost two years to agree and put in place resources for Mr M’s care after he was first assessed.

Essex County Council was asked to comment on this story but did not respond in time to EADT’s request.

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