Council cost client £100,000 in Independent Living Fund cash

Learning disabled man lost seven years' worth of payments after council told ILF that he was in residential care when he was in supported living, finds local government ombudsman.

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A council cost a learning disabled man £100,000 in Independent Living Fund payments by providing incorrect information to the ILF about his accommodation, the Local Government Ombudsman has found.

The man, Mr A, went without ILF payments from 2001-8 because the fund was misinformed into believing he was in residential care, and hence ineligible, when he had actually been placed in supported living by Bradford Council.

The council accepted that it was responsible for Mr A losing his ILF funding and the ombusman concluded that it had provided wrong information to the fund. On the recommendation of the ombudsman, the council has agreed to compensate Mr A for £100,000 he lost out on from having his ILF payments stopped in 2001.

Mr A’s case was taken up and pursued by his brother, Mr H, over the past 10 years. The council has agreed to pay him £5,000 in recognition of the time and effort he has put into securing justice for his brother.

Mr A moved into accommodation provided by Bradford Council in 2001. He paid rent on it, the council claimed housing benefit on it and applied for Supporting People funding, and it was not registered with the Commission for Social Care Inspection. While these factors meant it could not be classed as residential care, the ILF stopped his payments in 2001. In 2004, it wrote to Mr H saying that Mr A’s social worker had stated that he was in residential care.

The council said that the ILF refused to reinstate Mr A’s payments because he did not have a tenancy agreement. Bradford claimed that it could not provide him with such an agreement because of legal problems; however, the ombudsman pointed out that the council accepted that he was a tenant.

Bradford has also agreed to pay Mr A an additional £142 a week on an ongoing basis, reflecting the gap between his current ILF funding and what he would have been receiving had his payments not been stopped in 2001. The gap exists because his disability living allowance is taken into account in assessing his contribution to his ILF funding under regulations introduced in 2006.

Janice Simpson, Bradford Council’s interim strategic director of adult and community services, said: “The ombudsman’s report has to be formally considered by the council and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Mithran Samuel is Community Care’s adults’ editor.

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