query - me and legal responsibility re safeguarding

Imogenlily

Registered User
Jul 27, 2022
176
0
Hi everyone

So sorry to post again so soon. I've emailed my stepdad's social worker and said stepdad's not coming back - he's due back from respite next week - feel a bit worried, but I've done it. Haven't heard from social worker yet but I don't think it'll go down well. I've even changed locks as I don't trust the social worker not to just bring him back via ambulance (I know this is extreme but I also had relatives I didn't trust with key access)

I have a question, more legal wise that I'm not sure if anyone can answer - or if not, if anyone knows who I can get answers from. Basically, can social services/social workers insist I have a duty of care to a vulnerable adult (my stepdad) and legally I cannot lock him out/deny him access to 'his' home? My brother is worried about this and said also due to me doing carer stuff and now I'm retracting that - we're not sure if it matters legally. I'm now worried I've put myself in trouble.

Could I get in legal trouble? Can I be held legally responsible? Can they force my stepdad back to the house even if I refuse?

I'm not my stepdad's LPA (his son and daughter are) and not his nearest relative or emergency contact etc. Our only real connection is living in the same house (not that I feel I can actually voice that), I've been forced into a semi-carer role by sheer proximity. I don't know if I'm his 'main' caregiver or that's his carers, or even his own kids (due to them being LPA). The house though currently in probate belonged solely to my mum and she's left it to me, not my stepdad. I know this is a rather technical legal question, so no worries if people don't know.

My brother thinks we may need to consult a lawyer (not mum's executor though because we're having some issues with her). Do I need to worry? will I get into legal trouble for changing the locks??

Sorry again for yet another post!
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
5,292
0
High Peak
Social Services hold ALL Duty of Care, not you. It's not as if they're not aware of the problems - this has been going on a long time. He should be in a care home, SS are just trying everything they can (and playing on your guilt) to avoid paying for that. Stand your ground. You are completely within your rights to change the locks on your own house. As I understand it, your step dad was granted 6 months continued living there via your mum's will and this time period has passed.

You have done the right thing to state your position to SS and tell them you cannot continue to offer ANY care. Bascially, this is their problem, not yours and no, you will not get in trouble for it - your step-dad no longer has any legal right of residence there. If SS think he can manage on his own, they need to find him somewhere to live, presumably with the assistance of the LPAs. You really have no responsibility.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
25,059
0
South coast
I dont have any legal background, but I have a couple of thoughts

Firstly, you do not have "aduty of care to a vulnerable adult" - that rests completely with Social Services. They are the ones with the duty of care, not you. SS could put pressure onto the POA to find suitable accommodation, but thats not you either

Secondly, its not "his house". If he owned then it would be reasonable for SS to insist that he is allowed back, but he doesnt (and never has). I also seem to remember that according to your mums will he was only allowed to stay there for 6 months and he has exceeded that time.

SS may well try and put pressure on you to allow him back, but I cannot see that he has any "right" to do so.
 

DeeCee7

Registered User
Oct 13, 2023
279
0
Stick to your guns @Imogenlily . As others have said, it’s your house! Well done for changing the locks, I hope you feel safe and relieved now. Your step-dad is not your responsibility. You have done more than enough. Time to stay firm. If you receive more communications from SS, repeat what you have already told them and refer them back to the son and daughter. I wouldn’t involve yourself in any form of discussion with them.
 

amIinthewrong?

Registered User
Jan 24, 2024
111
0
If it's you're house in you're name only then no you don't have to do anything,regarding your step father. You still how ever will get the relatives that werent looking after him start to whinge, that you should help him when it isn't even you're responsablity, as far I as I know you have given due notice as to what your plans are to social service, so now you don't have to have any contact with them,but they will try to get you to take him back, which if you don't want to, may need to start ignoring messages/calls and knocks on the door for a long while in order to get the point across.
 

SAP

Registered User
Feb 18, 2017
1,338
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As other have said you have no legal duty to care for this man. That’s it no if, ands or buts. Social services tend to rely on people not knowing this fact but it is fact end of.
 

Imogenlily

Registered User
Jul 27, 2022
176
0
I dont have any legal background, but I have a couple of thoughts

Firstly, you do not have "aduty of care to a vulnerable adult" - that rests completely with Social Services. They are the ones with the duty of care, not you. SS could put pressure onto the POA to find suitable accommodation, but thats not you either

Secondly, its not "his house". If he owned then it would be reasonable for SS to insist that he is allowed back, but he doesnt (and never has). I also seem to remember that according to your mums will he was only allowed to stay there for 6 months and he has exceeded that time.

SS may well try and put pressure on you to allow him back, but I cannot see that he has any "right" to do so.
Thanks for reply. I'm just a bit (a lot) worried. With the house according to my mum's will my stepdad had six months or until the house is sold (whichever is longer) so I'm a bit worried on that front but my mum got my stepdad to sign a document years ago that he had no interest or claim on the house that was witnessed by our neighbors I think I or executor have it.

I think SS will try a lot of stuff. With my mum it was the opposite - I think because she was sectioned, the police were involved and I had to do loads of interviews due to safeguarding of my stepdad (she tried to attack him) and me, so I think I've been a bit naive just thinking he could go into care. Social worker still hasn't responded to me (he's v bad at this according to step sister)

Thanks for advice
 

Imogenlily

Registered User
Jul 27, 2022
176
0
If it's you're house in you're name only then no you don't have to do anything,regarding your step father. You still how ever will get the relatives that werent looking after him start to whinge, that you should help him when it isn't even you're responsablity, as far I as I know you have given due notice as to what your plans are to social service, so now you don't have to have any contact with them,but they will try to get you to take him back, which if you don't want to, may need to start ignoring messages/calls and knocks on the door for a long while in order to get the point across.
Thanks for reply. House was only my mum's and she's left it to me, possibly in trust (but exectuor is pos going to remove this). Def not my stepdad. So far, my step-siblings are agreeing with me - in fact it was step sister who asked me to contact social worker and gave me his email. They've OK'd the email and changing the locks - whether they'll back track is another matter, so we'll see...
They''d done some stuff recently to break my trust without thinking/caring about consequences to me so I'm wary honestly. I'm still waiting for a reply from social worker (apprantly **** about replying) so I might email him tomorrow and ask for a reply. Thanks for advice.
 

Imogenlily

Registered User
Jul 27, 2022
176
0
As other have said you have no legal duty to care for this man. That’s it no if, ands or buts. Social services tend to rely on people not knowing this fact but it is fact end of.
Thank you for this. It gives me hope! I'm just a natural born worrier...and very tired in general of all this. Thanks for reassurance.
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
5,455
0
Dorset
Don’t email and ask for a reply, you have stated your case, not asked a question. You have told SS, with the step siblings‘ agreement, that you will not accept your step father back into your home so any decisions are now up to them. It is entirely up to the Social worker as to what he does now, not your responsibility to chase them up.