Council failed to review man’s care plan properly, finds ombudsman

Local Government Ombudsman says Knowsley council should have reconsidered situation of man after conflict with new housemate

A council has been asked to pay £1,000 to the parents of a man with autism, challenging behaviour and severe learning disabilities after it failed to failed to properly plan and review his accommodation.

The Local Government Ombudsman made the recommendation after the man’s mother complained that his physical and mental health deteriorated in the two-year period after another man, Mr Y, moved into the supported accommodation where he lived.

The man, Mr X, had originally lived there alone with 24-hour help from support workers from 2009. After 18 months, in August 2011, Mr Y moved in and from mid-2012 records show Mr X attacked Mr Y, support staff and his parents. In July Mr X left his house unaccompanied and attacked a member of the public.

His mother says problems began earlier and that he was portrayed as the perpetrator in safeguarding reports but was retaliating against Mr Y’s behaviour towards him.

Mr Y did move out of the house in April 2013 while Mr X was being assessed in hospital

The mother of Mr X complained to the ombudsman that her son’s health had deteriorated largely because of the council’s decision to let Mr Y moved in with him. She said they were not compatible and should not have been allowed to live together She also had concerns that support staff might be giving her son too much medication to control his behaviour, which was making him feel worse, and that his activities had been stopped. She said her own mental health had deteriorated from watching her son suffer.

The ombudsman found that between January 2011 and April 2013 the council failed to have a support plan relevant to where Mr X was living, only carried out one annual review which did not consider whether his needs had changed, and did not do additional reviews following changes in his needs and circumstances. It also failed to formally assess his capacity to make specific decisions or to ensure actions taken were in his best interests.

The watchdog asked the council to pay £500 to the man’s mother for her distress and £500 to his father to be spent on activities or equipment for Mr X. It said proper support planning and review by the council might have meant his behaviour and changing circumstances were addressed earlier.

The ombudsman said Knowsley council should also undertake regular reviews of Mr X’s support assessment and support plan in his new placement.

It must also check and address any restrictions in his freedom which could be considered a deprivation of liberty.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said:“In this case, the man should have had a support plan which was reviewed it at least once a year. There were also events throughout the period that that should have triggered additional reviews.”

A Knowsley Council spokeswoman said “The council has considered the report and an action plan is being developed to progress the recommendations. We will report back to the ombudsman on the actions we have taken over the coming months.”

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