Repairs and maintenance (inc dampness/improvements and alterations eg central heating. double glazing)
Upheld in whole or in part
Non-public interest report issued: complaint upheld
Miss B complained that, in May 2019, the Council failed to conduct an appropriate Occupational Therapy assessment of her son, P, who was Autistic and also had physical mobility difficulties. She said the Council did not offer suitable adaptations to maintain P’s safety when using the bathroom. Miss B also complained that, when P remained unable to use the bathroom safely, the Council failed to consider her requests for a further assessment and adaptations in June and July 2020.
The Ombudsman found that the Occupational Therapy assessment in May 2019 was appropriate and the recommended adaptations offered appropriate resolutions at the time. However, there should have been a further assessment when Miss B raised further concerns in June 2020. It appeared that P’s physical difficulties were overshadowed by a focus on behavioural issues around P’s use of the bathroom and a lack of recognition of the way that P’s Autism would impact on his ability to change the way he used the bathroom. The Council should have thought more about how to mitigate the safety concerns while work was ongoing to help P adapt to new routines and adopt different behaviours in the bathroom (or in case he was not be able to do so at all).
The Council agreed to apologise to Miss B and offer £500 in recognition of the failures identified, as well as to ensure that a review process was in place to check that all safety concerns had been fully addressed. It agreed to do this within 1 month. The Council also agreed to provide all Disability Advisers and Occupational Therapists with appropriate initial or refresher training on Autism, as required, within 6 months.