Warwickshire council has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) for failing to provide a disabled woman in her thirties with a same sex carer.
The woman, who had significant needs and was not able to communicate verbally, received regular respite care from a residential centre so her parents could take breaks from their caring responsibilities.
The couple became concerned about staffing levels in the centre when it changed hands in 2011.
Warwickshire was not able to guarantee that the care home, which was owned by the council, would provide the woman with a female member of staff for her intimate care needs including washing and using the toilet.
The mother felt the new staff would be unfamiliar with her daughter’s hand signals and that her needs would not be provided for if she was left there. She was forced to cancel a holiday to stay with her.
While there is no legal requirement to provide same sex carers, ombudsman Dr Jane Martin said it was not good enough for a provider to say they could not guarantee it.
“They need to demonstrate they have made every effort to ensure the service is delivered in the way that is best for the recipient.”
In this case the family did not feel confident the council could protect their daughter, Martin said.
The LGO recommended the council apologise to the couple and pay them £5,500 for the more than two years they were unable to access appropriate respite care.