dct in Exeter, Devon

Report: Wokingham BC - Safeguarding Incident

The Local Government Ombudsman report in relation to Wokingham BC having neglected its duty to a service user whose care they had contracted out to a third party, for your information and CPD.

The courts hold councils responsible for ensuring council-funded placements meet assessed needs and this case reinforces the fact that council’s cannot when contracting out services to third parties, contract out the accountability for those services.

The ombudsman launched its investigation after the woman’s daughter complained about the care her mother had received at the home. As well as raising concerns about malnourishment, she said her mum was under stimulated during her time at the home and had broken her hip during a fall after she was left to walk unaided.

The woman, who has aphasia arthritis and osteoporosis, entered the council-funded care home in 2010. The woman’s care plan had stated she required supervision with walkin, medication, eating and drinking, and also needed encouragement to interact as she was in a low mood.

The investigation was critical of the lack of personalised activities organised at the home the council had contracted to look after her. It also heavily criticised the care provided for the woman who left the home malnourished, and with a Body Mass Index of just 15 (government guidance says a healthy BMI is 18 to 25), and the lack of timely action taken to address her weight loss.

The ombudsman also criticised the care home’s record keeping, and that staff did not seek timely specialist support for her low weight. The investigation also found failings in the way the home planned and carried out risk assessments around falls and mobility for the woman.

Wokingham council admitted it had not reviewed the woman’s care properly during her time at the home due to an administrative error.

The local authority said it accepted the ombudsman’s report and was acting on its recommendations, which included a call to pay £3,500 to the woman and £500 to her daughter to remedy the situation.