Hi @AnneFTo summarise the problems I'm encountering :-
I wasn't involved in my mother's needs assessments even though I am her primary carer, LPA for health and welfare, and she cannot fully articulate her needs on her own. The assessments took place over my head and without my knowledge. I had it written into the ward notes from day one that I should be included in all talks.
In that regard I believe the local authority is in breach of the Care Act 2014:
(5)A local authority, in carrying out a needs assessment, must involve—
(b)any carer that the adult has, and
(c)any person whom the adult asks the authority to involve or, where the adult lacks capacity to ask the authority to do that, any person who appears to the authority to be interested in the adult’s welfare.
In insisting that my mother cannot go to any setting where the local authority does not have a contract in place the local authority is in breach of government statutory guidelines. In telling me that I must restrict myself to settings where the local authority has a block agreement that is also a breach of the guidelines. On Friday I was told I could not enter into a third party top-up agreement with the provider, which is also a breach of the guidelines:
Care and Support Statutory Guidance Annex A:
6) This choice must not be limited to those settings or individual providers with which the local authority already contracts with or operates, or those that are within that local authority’s geographical boundary. It must be a genuine choice across the appropriate provision
19) In supporting a person’s choice of setting, the local authority may need to enter into a contract with a provider that they do not currently have an arrangement with. In doing so, they should ensure that the contractual conditions are broadly the same as those they would negotiate with any other provider whilst taking account of the individual circumstances. Strict or unreasonable conditions should not be used as a means to avoid or deter the arrangement
20) In some cases, a person may actively choose a setting that is more expensive than the amount identified for the provision of the accommodation in the personal budget. Where they have chosen a setting that costs more than this, an arrangement will need to be made as to how the difference will be met. This is known as an additional cost or ‘top-up’ payment and is the difference between the amount specified in the personal budget and the actual cost. In such cases, the local authority must arrange for them to be placed there, provided a third party, or in certain circumstances the person in need of care and support, is willing and able to meet the additional cost
· agree with the third party paying the ‘top-up’ (if this is not the cared for person) and the provider that payment for the ‘top-up’ element can be made directly to the provider with the local authority paying the remainder. However, as stated earlier, this is not recommended.
· the person making the ‘top-up’ payments pays the ‘top-up’ amount to the local authority. The local authority then pays the full amount to the provider
When I quoted the legislation on the phone on Friday I was told that local guidance operates in times of increased need. However my understanding is that does not obviate government legislation or the rights of individuals.
The placement team has emailed me obliquely trying to lay some of the blame for the delay in discharging my mother. That is unreasonable, the care home said last week my mother could be admitted fairly quickly, likely by Tuesday 28th. The week has been wasted because the local authority has been intent on bombarding me with repeated phone calls telling me my mother cannot go there.
I have now been told that a contract with the home is being set up however they are saying the care home has not responded to the contract pack. It appears the contract pack was not sent to the care home until the tail end of the week.
The local authority has said there is no evidence I have a formal top-up agreement in place with the care home. Given that my mother was not assessed until Tuesday and the rest of the week has been given over to fielding refusals from the local authority to consider our choice of setting, there has been no opportunity to put the deferred payment agreement in place - and I believe this is not formally carried out until a mandate exists for admission.
The local authority has said that will not enter into a deferred payment agreement with me as a third party.
The local authority has instructed me to send details of the asset to them for scrutiny. Given that it is a private arrangement between myself and the provider I'm struggling to see how the local authority can demand information on a third party's property when they have already said they will not consider the property as collateral if entering into a topup agreement.
By the end of last week I felt the dialogue was verging on harassment and I feel it has caused the very delay we have all been seeking to avoid. I'm thoroughly exhausted and finding it hard to continue.
They haven't even got my mother's name right, they appear to be using another client's name.
You have set out the position quite succinctly,
You now need to set it out in a letter (keeping a copy, of course, for later evidence) to (a) Local Authority Head of Adult Services, (b) Local Authority CEO (c) your ward Councillor (d) your MP and (e) to show your Solicitor.
As @Dave63 has said, it would be prudent to consult a local Solicitor who has experience in such matters, and it would also help you, if you need it and can afford it, to get Solicitor to take it up with LA ASS urgently, as LA is, unfortunately, more likely to take notice of Solicitor more than they are taking of you, from what you have said.
If LA think they will be taken either to Court or to LA Ombudsman for maladministration, and have to pay compensation for the distress caused, etc, then they will become defensive but will have to take the correct procedure and action. Possible down sides, if you instruct Solicitor, are (a) LA may say they will only deal with the Solicitor and not directly with you (b) you will be dependent on Solicitor acting promptly which will probably cause you frustration.
Keep pushing for what you want and what your mum needs!