Council to refund 11 years of care home fees family should never have been charged

Birmingham City Council will repay a city family more than 11 years of care home fees after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found the family should never have been charged.

The Ombudsman was asked to step in after the family complained to the council that they were asked to pay a so-called ‘top-up’ fee for their mother’s care after she was moved to a care home in March 2011.

The council could provide no evidence it had offered the family a care home which did not require them to pay the top-up, in accordance with the Care Act. It was not until 2019 that the family discovered this should have been the case after which they made their complaint to the council.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:“The Care Act 2014 has been clear on the matter, and we issued a special report about top-up fees as early as 2015, so the council had no reason not to be aware of its obligations.

“The recommendations I have made will remedy the situation for the family, and also improve procedures to help avoid something similar happening again.”

In this case the Ombudsman asked the council to refund the top-up fees they have paid since March 2011 and apologise to the family for the distress, time and trouble they have experienced.

In response, a council spokeswoman said: “We apologise unreservedly and will be refunding the top-up fees paid as well as making a payment to acknowledge the distress caused.”

Click here to download the report into this case.

Picture (c) Wikipedia.