When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Bournemouth council slammed by Ombudsman over care for disabled Tarik
A MUM who spent 18 months fighting to protect her profoundly disabled son’s care package was the victim of “council maladministration and injustice,” the Local Government Ombudsman has ruled.
Lorraine Zavadil, 54, took legal action against Bournemouth council after it originally proposed cutting her son Tarik’s care funding by almost 70 per cent.
Tarik, 28, has congenital cerebral palsy, epilepsy and profound learning disabilities, is registered blind and is unable to speak. He lives in Throop, where he receives 24-hour care from a team of paid carers, led by his mother.
His care package was costing the council £118,664 a year until December 2010, when they proposed reducing it to £37,801 – the standard rate for a live-in carer. An independent clinical psychologist warned that changes to Tarik’s care arrangements could worsen his disability or even have fatal consequences.
But the council refused to back down until May this year, when it settled out of court and agreed a reduction of around 11.5 per cent – which Mrs Zavadil said she would have accepted at the beginning.
Now the Local Government Ombudsman has looked into the case and concluded the council handled it badly.
“I consider that there has been maladministration by the Council,” the report states.
“It needed to review all long-running care packages but in this case it failed to consider all key matters properly before it proposed a radical change to the delivery of care.
“It proposed to apply its standard live-in carer rate without fully considering how Mr T’s assessed needs would be met.”
The report adds that it was “understandable” that Mrs Zavadil felt the council was simply trying to cut costs and acknowledges she was put under great stress.
Mrs Zavadil said: “I’m happy they found malpractice, injustice and service failure. I hope they realise now that you can’t just be cavalier about the funding for someone with critical needs and I hope no other families are treated in this way.”
She said the protracted battle had been emotionally exhausting. “They showed absolutely no compassion or consideration for the fact that I could basically lose my son at any time,” she said.
“It was brutal and inhumane. I’m afraid I do think it was personally motivated. They don’t like me because I fight for my son and I won’t take any nonsense, I’ve got too much to say.”
She added she would continue to fight for compensation, which she intends to donate to charity.
Jane Portman, the council’s executive director for adults and children, said: “The Council accepts the findings of the report and is putting into action the recommendations made.
“Tarik’s needs remain the priority and we continue to work with Mrs Zavadil and her son regarding his care.”