A ‘SEVERELY disabled’ young adult and his family were “badly let down” and left “struggling to cope” after funding for his care was ‘significantly reduced’ by the council.

A recently published investigation by a local authorities watchdog found Bracknell Forest Council (BFC)’s financial support for the man was “minimal” given “his level of disability”.

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The man, who is in his early twenties but whose name has been kept secret by the watchdog’s report, received 18 hours of paid support a week having left a college placement in July 2017.

This left his father — who is said to have his own mental and physical issues — his sister and a community group to care for the man on the six days a week he was not at a new college placement.

Local Berkshire:

According to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), the watchdog which investigated the issue, the council’s failures “caused an injustice to the whole family, but particularly to [the] father, who suffered the strain of an increased caring role.”

The LGO’s report claimed the family “began to struggle” soon after the son left his first college placement and the family experienced a "significant reduction" in the level of payments and support the son received.

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After more than a year of struggles, a financial assessment of the son saw the council agree to give more cash to the family for clothing, activities and food.

However, it did not include money for heating, electricity or additional washing or bedding, something the mother said was needed because her son “often soils his bed”.

The mother complained to the LGO after suggesting the family could not “continue as they are” as the father’s caring duties have caused “significant financial hardship” on the family.

Local Berkshire:

After an investigation, the LGO found the council had “failed” to assess the son’s care needs properly.

Their report read: “The council’s failures have badly let down a vulnerable adult, and left a family struggling to cope.

“[The son] receives 18 hours paid support a week. This is minimal for a person with his level of disability.

“[The mother and father] have been left to provide most of the care [their son] needs.

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“This has caused them significant and unnecessary distress, and financial hardship over a number of years.”

BFC has apologised to the family for its failures and will pay them £1,000 for the lack of support it provided.

The authority will also make symbolic payments of £400 a month backdated to when the son’s college placement ended in July 2017.

Melanie O’ Rourke, Assistant Director for Adult Social Care at BFC, said: “We take all complaints seriously and can confirm that we have put in to place all the LGO’s recommendations. In addition, we have also commissioned extra training for staff.

“We’re unable to comment any further on individual cases.”