Tuesday, October 14, 2014

British council slammed by judge and ordered to pay £80,000 after social workers snatched pensioner with dementia from her house while her son was out

A council has been slammed as 'woefully inadequate' and ordered to pay a legal bill of more than £80,00 after its social workers snatched a dementia-sufferer from her house while her son was out.

The 81-year-old woman was removed after a manager at a daycare centre she visited raised concerns about bruises and scratches on her face and legs.

It took the son 19 days to get Milton Keynes Council to tell him where they had taken her.

Taking on the council in the Court of Protection he racked up huge legal fees - which he claimed were a 'direct consequence' of the council's 'actions and omissions'.

At the Court of Protection, District Judge Paul Mort today ruled that the local authority must foot the bill.

Back in May he described Milton Keynes Council’s treatment of the pensioner, a former magistrate with severe dementia, as ‘woefully inadequate’.

In today's judgment, published on a legal website, he said that the council had set a 'juggernaut in motion' when it initially failed to investigate - and concluded that an 'award of costs' was 'manifestly justified'.

The judge did not identify the woman but named Milton Keynes Council as the local authority with responsibility for her welfare.

In September 2012 the manager of a care centre the woman attended had raised concerns about bruises and scratches on her face and legs. A month later, a visiting student social worker saw more injuries and alerted her bosses.

The council’s social services staff removed the woman and put her in a care home as they thought she may have been abused by her son, who lived with her. But their own inquiries and a subsequent police investigation found no evidence.

Judge Mort said the manner in which the social services removed the woman without getting the correct court orders violated her human rights, and described it as ‘unlawful detainment’. He also said she now has little prospect of being able to return to her home.

The judge said the woman had lived at her house for 32 years and was rooted in her local community. Her son sold his business abroad so he and his partner, along with a care worker he employed, could look after her.

Earlier in the year, he described to The Mail on Sunday in May how he returned home to find his mother gone. He said: ‘The care worker said to me, "The council have taken her to a place of safety." ‘I thought you need a warrant to enter someone’s house, but they just came and took her away.’

He said he was eventually given access to his mother at the care home, but under severe restrictions. ‘I was only allowed to visit her in the afternoons, and a staff member sat with us,’ he said.

Judge Mort lifted council restrictions that prevented the son from seeing his mother without being monitored by social workers. He can now see her as many times as he likes and take her out.

Original report here

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