• Case ref:
  • Date:
    December 2018
  • Body:
    East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Sector(s):
    Health and Social Care
  • Subject:
    calls for general assistance
  • Outcome:
    Some upheld, recommendations


Mrs C complained the council had failed to assess her temporary accommodation. Mrs C also complained that her Self Directed Support (SDS) assessment took too long to complete and that the council had failed to communicate with her appropriately.

We took independent social work advice. We found that the council was not obliged to assess Mrs C's temporary accommodation as she had chosen to move into a privately rented property. Therefore, we did not uphold this aspect of Mrs  C's complaint.

We found that Mrs C's SDS assessment did not take an unreasonable length of time, however, it had been signed electronically on her behalf, without any evidence of her consent. We considered that this was inappropriate and upheld this aspect of Mrs C's complaint. However, we noted that the council were taking action to prevent this reoccurring.

We also found that the council had not communicated reasonably with Mrs C about a decision to stop her direct payment. This was unreasonable as they were aware Mrs C had previously required assistance in managing this. We upheld this aspect of Mrs C's complaint.


What we asked the organisation to do in this case:

  • Apologise to Mrs C for electronically signing a document on her behalf without her agreement and for failing to communicate with Mrs C reasonably. The apology should meet the standards set out in the SPSO guidelines on apology available at www.spso.org.uk/leaflets-and-guidance.

What we said should change to put things right in future:

  • The council should have a process in place that informs service users when direct payments are going to be stopped and tells them who to contact if they are having difficulties in managing their payments.
  • The council's procedures should ensure that the SDS team and Care Manager are informed of issues with direct payment budgets and should investigate when issues are noted.

We have asked the organisation to provide us with evidence that they have implemented the recommendations we have made on this case by the deadline we set.