APOLOGIES have been given to two women who filed complaints against West Sussex County Council with the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman.

The first woman – known as Mrs C – complained about the way a financial assessment relating to her care needs was carried out, as well as the appeal that followed.

Rather than assessing Mrs C’s individual finances, as required by the council’s own policy, an adviser wanted to assess she and her husband together – something the ombudsman said the council had ‘no power’ to do.

The council was also found to be at fault for ‘instantly dismissing’ expenses claimed by Mrs C in relation to her wheelchair accessible van and powered wheelchair.

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Unhappy with the way in which her complaint to the council was handled, she said she felt ‘excluded and unable to put her views across’. 

The ombudsman added that ‘inaccuracies and errors in its reply clearly showed the council failed to properly understand her appeal’.


The ombudsman upheld Mrs C’s complaint and recommended that the council apologise and pay her £100 for the distress caused.

A council spokesman said: “The operations manager has apologised in writing to the customer and a remedy payment of £100 has been made.

“The necessary procedural changes were discussed at a recent meeting and we will provide evidence outlining the outcome of that meeting to the ombudsman.

“We are confident this will allow the ombudsman to agree that the council has complied with their recommendations.”

The second matter dealt with by the ombudsman came from a woman named as Miss D.

When the pandemic hit, Miss D was concerned about her disabled sister contracting the virus so she removed her from her care home and looked after her herself.

Her sister has complex physical and health needs and severe learning disabilities and Miss D complained that between March and August 2020 she received no support, despite continuing to pay £95 towards the cost of her care.

The ombudsman said the council was not at fault for continuing to charge as this was in line with its policy and its contract with the care home.

But it was at fault for failing to review the care and support given to the sister when she starting living with Miss D.

A council spokesman said: “Our complaints manager is aware of the agreed actions outlined by the ombudsman and we are confident the matter will not be repeated.

“The executive director for adults has apologised in writing to the customer and the ombudsman has agreed that the council has complied with the recommendations.”