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Challenging a local authority decision

If you or your loved one feel unhappy with a local authority decision relating to care or an assessment, you have a right to challenge it.
3 min read
In this article
Reasons why you might want to challenge a decision Making a complaint Take the matter to an ombudsman: your final option

Reasons why you might want to challenge a decision

 

If you, or your loved one, have had a care assessment, financial assessment or carer’s assessment and are unhappy with its content, the way it was conducted or the outcomes, you have a right to appeal or complain.

 

Possible reasons for dissatisfaction

  • Your friend or relative has not seen the assessment or has not had a chance to comment or sign it.
  • The assessment didn’t cover all needs. There should be a record of all presenting needs, not just those classed as ‘eligible’.
  • Your loved one is unhappy with the decision following a financial assessment and can’t afford what the council is asking for.
  • The local authority didn’t offer any feasible options for meeting non-eligible needs. Local authorities are supposed to signpost people to other services that could meet non-eligible needs.
  • You don’t agree with the judgements about which needs were ‘eligible’.
  • You don’t agree with the way your loved one’s needs are described.
  • The assessment failed to offer clear outcomes (the difference the service is meant to make to your loved one’s life) or the outcomes are not appropriate or not of your choice.
  • The choice of service suggested by the care plan won’t meet needs or won’t deliver the intended outcome.
  • The amount of service offered will not meet eligible needs.
  • There have been unacceptable delays in carrying out the assessment or making decisions.
  • Poor customer service or rude staff.

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Making a complaint

If you want to challenge a local authority decision, you should first complain to the relevant local authority itself.

 

All councils are legally obliged to have a formal complaints procedure in place. They should publish information to make it clear to users that they are entitled to a review; explain how to request a review; and explain how to make a complaint.

 

This information should be available on all local authority websites and given to you or your loved one at the time of the assessment.

Tips for making a successful complaint

  • Make it clear that your letter or email is a formal complaint by stating this at the top.
  • Include all relevant facts (plus dates, times and names).
  • Attach copies of all relevant documents.
  • Keep your complaint as brief and to the point as possible.
  • Say what you would like to happen – for example, you would like an apology or a review.
  • Be polite.
  • Keep a copy for your own records.

Take the matter to an ombudsman: your final option

If you’re not satisfied with the local authority’s response and you believe the fault is down to a service or administrative error, your final option is to take the matter to an ombudsman. 

 

Once the ombudsman has decided whether it can legally deal with your complaint, it will then have up to 12 months to provide you with a resolution.

 

Contact the appropriate national ombudsman as follows:

 

In England: Local Government Ombudsman

In Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Ombudsman

In Scotland: Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

In Wales: Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

Further reading

Getting professional support

We list different regulators, bodies and ombudsmen that may be able to help you when making a complaint or challenging ...

Carer's assessment

If you care for someone it may be helpful to arrange a carer’s assessment to see if you’re eligible for support – ...

Last updated: 18 Sep 2018