Weak title, I know, to introduce the Local Government OMbudsman, but you know how it is when you have been praying, keeping your fingers and toes crossed, wishing, saying little spells, even meditating (OM OM OM) and touching your favourite bit of lucky wood, and then it comes right, it happens and you think, crikey, which little superstition actually worked this time !
None of them. Just the Universe turning and the System working. And just a little smidge, a light sprinkling of fairy dust.
Way way back in April I finally plucked up courage to ask the LGO to investigate Dorset social services delay in providing wheelchair access into and around my home, first discussed with my social services Occupational Therapist in 2002 and formally requested in 2003.
An LGO Investigator came to see me in June and yesterday he emailed me to confirm that:
" ... On behalf of the Local Government Ombudsman, I am investigating your complaint.
That, since March 2003, the Council has delayed adaptations to your home. ... ... ... As a result, ... ... ... . You have also suffered stress (exacerbating your health problems), financial loss, a limited social life and have fallen in your home."
(I have thought long and hard on whether to blog it here, as I don't think I am entirely anonymous anymore, and even though the Ombudsman's findings when published, will be in the public domain for anyone to read, the Complainant is not identified. However, blogging is an essential part of my support system, and I need to put it out here. It is what is happening to me.)
The Investigator goes on to summarise my complaint, which is lengthy, and not noted here because DCC have yet to answer my complaint, and until the Ombudsman makes his decision on their response, they are innocent until proven guilty, except this is not a process in a court of law so there is no criminal or civil case being investigated. Just an 'Ombudsmanial' process. I don't know what the proper word for it is either.
What decided me to contact the Local Government Ombudsman is that the LGO can DIRECT a local authority how to put right their systems so that they are acting correctly in their procedures, systems and in arriving at their decisions. So not only can the LGO tell a local authority what to do to put right an individual's complaint, and order compensation to be paid to the complainant if appropriate, but also the fact of a complaint being made through the LGO ensures that the local authority has to change its bad practices, which will benefit other service users.
In the bigger picture, I am hoping that the Director of Dorset social services is able to use the LGO's directions (whatever they may be) to ensure the social services directorate has its necessary share of the County budget (from central government) to fulfil its statutory duties under the 'Fair Access to Care' criteria and the central government guidance on 'Providing Housing Adaptations for Disabled People' .
So, having got to this stage in the process, I am bursting to celebrate, but its early days yet.
And finally the Company converting the VW Caddy into my Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle have restored my faith in them, sorted out the adaptations specification with Motability, which I have confirmed I am happy with, and they have given me a delivery date for next week, and I even know the registration number so I know it really really now exists and is mine, all mine. I will soon be able to wave from my WAV !
And, no, I don't need them to provide a man to push me - this is one of those occasions when all that is needed are batteries ! And a powerchair with a small turning circle to fit in my small cottage, part-funded by the N.H.S., topped up with donations begged from charities, for delivery when the adaptations for wheelchair access are, finally, in place. Five years on, and counting.
Pride Quantum 600 - geraldsimondsdotcodotuk
Any questions on LGO, grants for adaptations, or equipment, please comment, or email me in confidence.
Labels: Equipment, Social Services, SocS, WAV