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Thread: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

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    Default Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    Here is one that has been bubbling away for the past 4 years, I will try and be brief.

    A young lad is living in emergency housing after finding himself homeless in unfortunate circumstances. The local authority help him into accommodation and ensure that he is receiving appropriate benefits, this relies on his signing on to ensure that they receive their payments from the DWP in housing allowances and that he is eligible for council tax relief. All going well.

    Now the young lad fails to sign on, this happens a few times so his benfits stop. Since the benefits stop he goes into rent arrears and becomes liable for council tax which also goes into arrears.

    The authority sends out a housing officer, he meets with the lad, sees that he is struggling in abject poverty and living with no heating or light, they escort him to the bank to prove that he has no funds demonstrating that he can't meet any of his bills. No help initiated from social services.

    Two months later the lad arrives home to find his locks changed, he has been evicted. There had been notices issued but the lad had not been reading his mail. His furniture (mostly donated by relatives) and his clothes have been seized. The boy is on the street.

    His parents find out what has happened through word of mouth. They take the boy back in at home.

    One month later the lad is diagnosed as autistic. The local authority are notified but they are only interested in having their debts paid. They refuse to return his property it has effectively been held hostage. Estimated value fo the "debt £800", replacement value of the property and clothes £2,000.

    The young lad is forced to move to another authority where he secures supported accommodation due to his disability.

    Four years later the first authority are still chasing their "debt". This means that now if the lad wanted to move back to his "home area" he cannot do so because they would not entertain this problem tenant despite his identified needs.

    How does this stand legally?
    'I don't see why everyone depends on me. I'm not dependable. Even I don't
    depend on me, and I'm me.'

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    Maybe the council should try this:

    "The Secretary of State may, with the approval of the Treasury, make grants out of money provided by Parliament towards any expenses of local authorities incurred in connection with the exercise of their social services functions in relation to persons suffering from mental illness"

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    The point is that they have not recognised this as a "function in relation to persons suffering from mental illness". They remian to view this as a problem debtor and are accepting no excuse.
    'I don't see why everyone depends on me. I'm not dependable. Even I don't
    depend on me, and I'm me.'

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    Quite often, completion of the MALG forms by their medical professional, along with the support of a debt advisor can get this type of debt written off. The authorities have to be extremely cautious as they are dealing with monies from the public purse.

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    Well, Magrew, you know what it is - they're possibly in breach of duty of care.
    However, labman has given an excellent reason and remedy, both, imho.
    The medical person would be the one to talk about the lad's capability, which seems to be the concern.
    Presumably, an autism specialist would be the best deal.

    Mind have some excellent info, ask them also.

    Here's their list of protectors - including (8) 'Independent Mental Capacity Advocates '
    And here's their 'Financial Decisions under the Mental Capacity Act 2005', just for good measure

    [If all that fails, they have a complaints procedure for representatives of mentally ill people (health and social care)]
    Last edited by christianpassy; 16th June 2012 at 23:47:PM.

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    I know that there had been some involvement with the CAB in the past but from what I have seen they only tried to ensure that there were no wrongly attributed liabilities. At that time the lad hadn't been diagnosed with his condition.

    What are MALG forms?

    The young lad has trust issues, he knows and trusts me, he is a friend of the family and knows our boys who are also ASD, would it work for me to broker matters or am I likely to get the cold shoulder. Obviously I would need to demonstrate to the LA that I have the lad's permission to discuss his case. The other benefit is that I know the Finance Director and the Chief Executive of this LA very well and we have a mutual respect.

    Common sense should be able to make this one go away because the potential bad press for the authority must be a concern to them.
    'I don't see why everyone depends on me. I'm not dependable. Even I don't
    depend on me, and I'm me.'

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care


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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    Labman, That link is very interesting. It does appear to be tailored to appropriate professionals though. I however am Mr Keen Amateur. Would it therefore be appropriate for me to submit the form?

    Mind you I could collate the effective information that is available and construct a package of info that may have the same effect. Or is it that in your experience the authority will have to have the correct bit of paper from a confirmed professional to justify their action of writing off the debt?

    I can see why they would want to have their butts covered because doing a favour for their old pal Magrew would not gain any points with the auditor.
    'I don't see why everyone depends on me. I'm not dependable. Even I don't
    depend on me, and I'm me.'

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    Magrew, talking about it further and wanting to take on the case will not help the lad.

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    christianpassy, the chat tonight is only to see if I can effectively take this forward informally or if it is best that this is managed by a suitably qualified professional. Chat on a Saturday night will not delay action on a Monday morning, it will hopefully focus efforts in the most effective direction and offer an appropriately swift resolution. If that is me offering appropriate advocacy between the two parties or a debt management professional presenting a coherent and justifed case is what I am trying to establish.

    Following labman's very helpful link I am favouring the second option, I may be able to clearly present the issues however I can fully understand that the LA will need properly constituted information on file to justify writing this sum off.

    Because we have talked about it and I have considered taking on the case then I believe we have already helped the lad. I think we have a strategy to deploy next week. That is a big step ahead of where they were last week.
    'I don't see why everyone depends on me. I'm not dependable. Even I don't
    depend on me, and I'm me.'

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    My local council would recognize this as a way to inflate their bonus's even more, and bet most of the so called debt, is numerous £60 charges for each fake summons, they should backdate his HB&CT based on nil income, or use some of the other millions they get from the government for discretionary payments, they are evil, and have driven many to suicide

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    Default Re: Local Authority (Lack of) Duty of Care

    It is a little while since I used the forms, but as I remember, one has to be filled in by the doctor or other medical professional, and a further part by the 'patient.' The forms can then be submitted with all other supporting evidence to show the debt should be written off.

    Thre are never any guarantees, especially where the public purse is concerned, but there is nothing to lose by putting it to them they write off the debt. It is hardly a huge amount we are talking about, and the effect this is having on the person's life could be significant in proportion to the sum in question.

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