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Wiltshire Council slammed for uncaring cuts

April 28, 2018 7:41 AM

The Public Sector Executive reports that Wiltshire Council's Conservative administration has been found to be at fault in the way it tried to make cuts to people's care packages.

An investigation by the ombudsman found the council was using illegal methodology, and wasn't even bothering to follow its own procedures in this and, presumably, other cases.

The ombudsman's investigation found that Wiltshire Council operated a policy of cutting payments by placing people into bands and then paying in line with those bands, regardless of need.

This is contrary to the Care Act.

The ombudsman became aware of the problem after a woman, whose adult son has "substantial and complex health problems and disabilities," had her support cut significantly.

Despite the son's condition remaining unchanged, the council carried out a new assessment of his needs when the family moved home and cut his respite nights.

It said this reduction would be introduced gradually, but instead it was done immediately.

The new assessment also reduced his transport funding.

The investigation found that the council was at fault for using an outdated method to calculate the amount of support offered to the family and reducing the support offered immediately, rather than as a staged reduction.

Additionally, it was found to be at fault for the way in which it reduced the family's funding for transport.

The reduction in support, along with the haste with which the changes were introduced, had a "significant impact" on the man's mother.

Wiltshire Council has accepted that the formula that it used to calculate people's budget was not in accordance with current guidance and has agreed to stop using it.

The council has agreed to apologise to the family, to make restitutional payments to them, and to restore the previous levels of care pending a re-assessment that should be compliant with the Care Act.

The cabinet member responsible for adult social care is Conservative Cllr Jerry Wickham.