Services for older people
Non-public interest report issued: complaint not upheld
Wrexham County Borough Council
Mrs T complained that the Adult Safeguarding Team (“the AST”) at Wrexham County Borough Council (“the Council”) mismanaged 4 Safeguarding referrals it received in respect of her late friend, Mr D – for whom Mrs T held Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare (“an LPA”). The referrals alleged that Mr D, who had progressive dementia, suffered abuse/was at risk of abuse from Mrs T as the result of her interactions with him (following his placement in a Care Home). Mrs T complained that:
1. The Safeguarding referrals should not have met the threshold for investigation as they were vexatious in nature.
2. The Safeguarding investigations were not conducted in accordance with the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.
3. A Safeguarding officer inappropriately reported the received referrals to the Office of the Public Guardian (“the OPG”), which is responsible for registering and regulating LPAs.
4. Mr D was not informed of the referrals or of the subsequent investigations and so his views on the events in question were not obtained. Also, evidence was not obtained from witnesses whose input might have favourably influenced the investigations.
5. Mrs T was not updated on the progress or conclusions of the investigations.
The Ombudsman did not uphold any of Mrs T’s complaints. His investigation found that:
1. There was no evidence that the referrals, as received, were vexatious in nature. The AST was obliged to investigate whether Mr D was an adult at risk and (in 2 of the 4 referrals) recommended appropriate protective measures to restrict Mrs T’s contact with Mr D.
2. The Ombudsman found that the AST dealt with the referrals it received in accordance with procedures set out in Part 7 of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 (and in accordance with Volume 6 of statutory guidance issued by the Welsh Government).
3. The Ombudsman found that the decision to report the received referrals to the OPG was not unreasonable (as the regulator of LPAs). The OPG concluded that Mrs T should remain as Mr D’s Attorney and the Council was guided by this advice.
4. The investigation found that Mr D was informed of the referrals and his views on the events in question were obtained. As Safeguarding procedures do not function to determine the guilt or innocence of the alleged perpetrator, it was not appropriate to call character witnesses.
5. The Ombudsman found that Mrs T was appropriately updated on the progress and conclusions of the investigations.