Committee leaders to probe Ombudsman’s Milton Keynes Council care criticism

Leading councillors will be holding a high level meeting with Milton Keynes Council’s adult services chief following a watchdog’s damning report.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found that a man with Huntingdon’s Disease had wrongly been denied home help, and assistance to make sure that he did not choke on his food.

MK Council

MK Council

The Ombudsman found that council officers had, over the course of a year, insisted that it was MK Council’s policy not to provide home help. The error was only picked up after the man’s wife complained to the council’s monitoring officer.

The Ombudsman, in its findings, wanted to make sure that no one else in similar circumstances was being denied proper care.

The council apologised to the couple, and their family, and paid them £4,000 in compensation. The man’s personal assistant, who had continued to help him unpaid, received £200.

Cllr Alice Jenkins (Cons, Danesborough & Walton), who chairs the council’s Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee, revealed at a meeting on Wednesday that she had wanted to hold an emergency committee meeting to probe the issue but other councillors had disagreed.

She said some councillors feel that because the council has agreed to keep the Ombudsman in touch with actions it is not necessary to hold an emergency meeting.

“We had discussions, and I asked for an emergency meeting,” said Cllr Jenkins. “Other members felt that we do not need one. I disagreed.

“Instead we agreed that we would have a meeting of the vice-chairs with Victoria Collins, the director of adult services, to ensure that no service users are falling foul of the policy.

“We will then have a written report about the policy and how the mistake is being undone.”

Cllr Jenkins added: “One of the council’s primary roles is to look after those most in need. Its extremely alarming that it has failed on this and a number of other occasions recently.

“This isn’t just a matter of human error, the Local Government Ombudsman has found that the current administration’s policies aren’t protecting those most in need.”