West Sussex County Council has apologised and paid £1,300 to a man it placed in an unsuitable care home after he left hospital.
The man – known as Mr X – complained to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman raising a number of issues about his treatment by the council.
As well as being placed in a home which could not fully cater to his needs, he said the council had delayed finding him somewhere else to live and had failed to protect his property after he gave up the tenancy to his home whilst being supported by the authority.
As a result, his belongings were lost.
A report published by the ombudsman on Thursday (January 4) detailed how Mr X – who has physical and mental health conditions – was admitted to hospital in May 2021, gave up his tenancy in January 2022, and was discharged to a specialist residential care home in May 2022.
By December of that year it was decided that the home was no longer suitable to meet his needs.
Ten months later, a suitable place had still not been found.
After being found to be at fault and ‘causing injustice’ to Mr X, the council agreed to send a written apology to him and give him a total of £1,300 in ‘symbolic payments’.
They were made up of £500 for the distress caused by placing him in a home which did not fully meet his needs, £300 for the distress caused by failing to support him with applying for housing, and £500 for the distress caused by failing to take reasonable action to protect his property.
Regarding the latter, the Ombudsman said: “The council has a duty to take reasonable steps to protect moveable property when a person is cared for away from home.
“Mr X was in hospital at the time he relinquished his tenancy and the council was assessing his needs.
“The council should therefore have considered its duty to take steps to protect his property.”
A council spokesman said: “We accept the findings in the Ombudsman’s report.
“We will action the recommendations, including payments to the complainant, in line with the suggested timescale.”
As well as the apology and payments, the council agreed to draw up an action plan for seeking an alternative placement or housing for Mr X.
And it will review what support it provides people who are supported by adult social care to find alternative care placements or housing.