Luton Council to pay £15,000 for failing disabled man and family

Luton Council will pay £15,000 in compensation for failures in the care of a profoundly disabled young man, following an investigation by the local government ombudsman.

In a ruling issued yesterday, ombudsman Jerry White found “maladministration causing injustice” in the council’s dealings with the man and his family.

The 21-year-old man, referred to as Shahid Ahmed for legal reasons, suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and is mostly cared for by his parents. The family ran into difficulties when Shahid grew more difficult for them to carry upstairs. Delays in making provision such as a portable hoist were found by the ombudsman’s investigation, as well as a three-year delay in dealing with a complaint from the family’s MP. At one stage, the family waited 15 months for a letter to be answered.

Adult protection referral ‘beggars belief’

Staff had also made a referral under the council’s protection of vulnerable adults procedures because the family did not take advice that was offered by occupational therapists. White found the use of this procedure to be inappropriate and hurtful to the family and said: “It beggars belief that the referral was made at all.”

While the ombudsman accepted that the family did not take up some of the provisions offered to them by council workers, he concluded that Luton’s approach to Ahmed’s problems had a negative impact on both his and his family’s quality of life.

White concluded that the problems had persisted “for some three years longer than necessary”.

He recommended that the council pay the family £15,000 in compensation, provide appropriate staff training and review procedures.

The council accepted the recommendations in full. A spokesperson said: “We have carefully considered the feedback from the ombudsman. Clearly we made serious errors when dealing with this case and we must learn from our mistakes.”

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