Bolton Council rapped after getting dead man’s name wrong in apology letter

Bolton Council has now been ordered to send a further written apology to his partner for the distress caused.

An apology letter from Bolton Council about faults in the care of a man who later died was delivered late and referred to him by the wrong name, an ombudsman has found.

A recently published report refers to the man in question as Mr Z and Ms Y as his partner. The case was originally investigated by an ombudsman after complaints were made about the care provided to Mr Z after he was discharged from hospital.

A complaint was made about the failure to provide adequate assistance to Mr Z while he was making a housing application and the failure of carers to seek timely assistance when Mr Z did not answer his door. Mr Z later died. The ombudsman found ‘fault causing injustice’ to Ms Y and ordered the council to send a written apology and makes a payment of £250 to her to acknowledge the distress and uncertainty caused to her by the care provider’s failure to follow its procedure.

They also asked the council to reviews its procedures and make reasonable adjustments for housing applicants with disabilities.

The council was due to issue the apology and payment to Ms Y by June 30, 2022. However, it only sent the apology on July 22 and the letter referred to Mr Z by the wrong name. After failing to provide assurances to the ombudsman that all the actions agreed had been carried out by the council, the ombudsman opened a second inquiry.

The ombudsman said: “The council delayed in providing evidence of its compliance with the agreed actions despite our frequent contact chasing evidence to show the remedy was satisfied. This is fault.

“We expect councils to carry out the agreed actions within the time-scales set out in our final decisions. The council has now provided evidence to show it has satisfied the agreed actions but it is disappointing that it did not do so until we had registered a new complaint.”

Bolton Council has now been ordered to send a further written apology to Ms Y for the distress caused by the delay in issuing the original apology and payment of another £250 for wrongly naming Mr Z in the letter.

A spokesman for Bolton Council said: “The council has listened carefully to the Ombudsman’s findings, and we have apologised to everyone involved in this case for the distress caused. As an organisation, we take every opportunity to learn and improve the services we deliver for our residents.

“Appropriate steps have already been taken and measures are now in place to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

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