Help please Can the Local Authority over rule my d... - Mencap

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Help please Can the Local Authority over rule my decisions?

CT76 profile image

My son is in his last year if school ( year 14 ) and we have been looking at educational provisions post school.

We have found 2 possible placements.

One is local and one is residential.

Both are able to support my sons need but in different ways.

I feel that the social worker is pushing me to choose the residential. The education side of it is similar to his school environment which is good but I have concerns about the residential part. Prior to covid and during covid my son was going to respite 3 nights fortnightly but was not coping there. Some days he would refuse to go and when he did go he would not leave his room.

The social worker has been talking about best interest meeting and a capability assesment. I am worried my decision will be overruled 😏

20 Replies

My only suggestion is get your deputyship done for property and finance and health and well-being you can do it on the gov.uk website. If not it’s difficult once they are 18 as parents to have a voice. Everything changes once they are 18

CT76 profile image
CT76 in reply to Jofisher

Thankyou. I will look into this...

Hope2222 profile image
Hope2222 in reply to CT76

Deputyship is a very good idea. It will take time to complete.

In the meantime consult a public law and human rights solicitor and ask that they commission an independent social worker report. Check that the solicitor does legal aid work, your son will very likely be entitled to that.

Also reach out fir help and advice from Sunshine Support here

sunshine-support.org

You are right to pursue this, your son has a right to be happy and not to be traumatised by the lack of best interest decision making by the local authority.

Best Wishes for a successful outcome.

CT76 profile image
CT76 in reply to Hope2222

Thankyou.. its a constant worry. I dont understand why so pushy about this particular placement. And when it comes to best interest of my son I feel its only I genuinely have that.I will look into deputyship

CT76 profile image
CT76 in reply to Hope2222

I have had a look at the deputyship.. its seems very complicated and lengthy

Jofisher profile image
Jofisher in reply to CT76

It is lengthy yes but take a bit at a time or get someone to help you to fill it in. Honestly if I can do it anyone can do it I hate forms I really do and struggle with them but I knew I needed to do it so just got on with it you may surprise yourself. You really do feel like you’ve achieved something when it’s done and you’ve got them.

Hi Jo you say everything changes once they are 18 ? How? What in particular?

Services in children’s services are a lot better often and a parents voice becomes less listened to unless you have a deputyship if your child lacks capacity. Your child where nothing has changed but their age is all of a sudden is deemed as being an adult and authorities can often hide behind that. So my only advice to any parent of loved ones who lack capacity is to ensure they get their deputyship for property and finance health and well-being to ensure they have the courts behind them in case it’s ever required. You then become your loved ones voice in affect so always working in their best interest you are in a position to have a much stronger voice and although you don’t have the ultimate decision if funders don’t agree they still have to recognise your legal rights as a deputy. If your loved one is in care and there are issues a home can be held to account if they do not listen to your voice as you are ultimately working as a ward of the court as a representative for your son and the court. In other words you and your loved one are more protected having this than not. I have realised how important this is over the last three years and I dread to think what would have happened if I hadn’t had this in place. So that’s why I believe it’s important for all parents to know and understand this and then act if they believe it’s in their loved ones best interest which in my humble opinion it most certainly is. Don’t be put off by people in authority saying you won’t get it you don’t need it do what you believe is right. I had no issues getting my deputyship for both. You can find out more on the government website put in application for deputyship and have a read and it will help you understand it more and the importance of having it. Good luck

Thank you Jo

Check out all about the mental capacity act 2005 it will help you to understand then more clearly what it’s all about.

It isn’t that bad,

The main thing is to get the capacity assessment done, perhaps there is a speech and language therapist or psychologist that has or does known him .

Then ask everyone you think can provide helpful witness statements. There are blank forms provided for each one,

Then be clear in the documentation as to why Deputyship is required and whether this is for financial or the more useful health and welfare when is comes to this type of decision.

Example from your own history with services the many times that best interest decisions have not been made.

You could also use full comment on the wider social issues of lack of best interest decision making that is regularly reported on in the media.

Yes there is some paperwork to be done, but take it one step at a time. It is worth it.

Begin with requesting the application pack for health and welfare from the court of protection.

Jofisher profile image
Jofisher in reply to Hope2222

I was told you have to have property and finance first before you can apply for deputyship or is this when your doing both together it doesn’t matter or have they changed things now just asking.

Thankyou so much. Will start there

You can also look into LPAs for health&welfare/property&finance if relevant. Again can be completed online and should be straightforward (we had issues but was over first lockdown so not the best timing!).First step is having mental capacity assessment done. We found it very hard to get someone to do this but was done by Social Worker asssistant in the end. I guess this wouldn’t be ideal in your situation.

I’ve always been told it’s parental preference but if you can list the benefits of him going to the other setting are greater than the benefits of the residential setting your local council should follow your wishes.

Good luck.

CT76 profile image
CT76 in reply to AES71

Thankyou. I considered the LPA but my son would just agree without knowing what he is agreeing to. Maybe I will wait for the capacity assessment 1st?

Hi there. The brutal answer is ‘yes’ if they consider it to be in your son’s best interest. Once your son reaches 16 for educational decisions and 18 for social care decisions, he is an independent adult in the eyes of the law and although you have a legal right to be involved in any decision making, you have no more say than anyone else.The first thing I would recommend you do, is to find someone to make a decision on your son’s capacity. If he is then deemed to have capacity to agree to the setting up of a Lasting Power of Attorney, you should do that straight away. It is a simple form online and free if you do it yourself, or you could pay a solicitor to do it. This will allow you to be his official ‘voice’ although every decision you make on his behalf will still have to be in his ‘best interests’. (You can only apply for Deputyship from the Court of Protection if your son lacks capacity but it involves annual visits from court visitors and having to file annual returns etc so is not something to be taken on lightly. Very few parents actually do this and the Courts expect social care and welfare decisions for most people to be able to be made using ‘best interests’ meetings.)

In the meantime, best interest meetings are not necessarily a bad thing if they are carried out correctly. They must involve you in the meeting (though again, you have no more clout than anyone else) along with anyone else who is involved in your son’s care, like school, the respite provision he used to go to etc. If your son is able to, he will have a big say in what he wants.

LAs have to find the most cost effective way to meet a person’s needs so if the local option is cheaper that will be considered. Ask for the notes from the meeting and if you don’t agree with the decision, ask for the reasons behind it and then you can appeal.

It is very hard when a loved one reaches 18. On the one hand you are expected to advocate for them on a day to day basis and still provide huge amounts of care and support, yet you have no control over decision making. Please don’t worry too much though as the vast majority of people get the support they need through ‘best interest’ decisions.

CT76 profile image
CT76 in reply to SpeedyH

Thankyou ..you have made me worry less. I am concerned as the social worker is pushing towards this one placement which I have reservations about. She has only been involved recently and met my son once x

SpeedyH profile image
SpeedyH in reply to CT76

It is always a good idea to ask them to put their reasons for making a particular decision in writing. It helps them to focus on whether they are acting lawfully. I would think, if you have good evidence that his previous respite placement did not meet his needs, that they would have to come up with a very good reason why residential might, in the light if that. Hope it get sorted for you. x

BenjiB profile image
BenjiB in reply to SpeedyH

Agree I’ve never known a local authority spend more than they need to! We had to fight tooth and nail for residential. It was the most stressful time of my life. Our savings completely gone fighting it.

Hi, I found a solicitor willing to do all the paperwork for deputyship at a reasonable cost. Have no trouble filling in the annual report, it's very straightforward and feel I've got the court of protection at my back if I need them. My daughter now 43 also didn't like respite so I gave up trying, sorry now tho cos she won't go anywhere without me. It's down to me to provide all the stimulus for her and that's hard as you get older. I hated the expression, "being cruel to be kind" but it is unfortunately true. My social worker, a lovely and very experienced lady, years ago tried to persuade me into residential but I, like you, was uneasy so I didn't. I now realise that it could have prepared her to be more independent from me.

My daughter has lived in her own flat for 11 years now with 24/7 care but still needs me every day and night, I have no life to call my own and I'm 77.

Good carers are hard to find and rarely stay longer than 3 years, mostly only months. My daughter, so easy when younger has got more difficult to manage as she got older. I've had one care worker for the past 2 years who does 40 hours per week and I have to do the rest, husband helps out. I had a bleed on the brain 2 years ago, have rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease and COPD. We don't think about getting old and unwell in the future, we just get on with caring and doing our best for our children.

It's a really hard decision to make but one that only you can decide. Definitely go for Deputy tho, you WILL need it at some stage for sure. Good luck.

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