The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found that Cornwall Council made a number of errors when assessing how much a man needed to pay for his care.
An investigation found the council treated the family’s finances as though it was paying for their care rather than the family.
The Ombudsman said the council made a self-funding calculation which limited the man’s personal expenditure to a restrictive personal expenses allowance rather than allowing him to spend his money as he wished.
“Personal expenses allowances only apply when the council itself is paying for care, not for people who fund their own care,” the Ombudsman found.
The Ombudsman said the council’s poor calculations meant there was a delay in funding the man’s care when his capital fell below the government the £23,250 threshold.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “I am issuing this report because I believe there may be systemic problems in the way Cornwall Council assesses people in the county.
“I have asked the council to identify anyone else adversely affected by similar issues over the past 12 months and provide them with a remedy too. I am disappointed the council has not yet agreed to do this, so I urge it to reconsider its position.”
Cornwall’s portfolio holder for adults Councillor Rob Rotchell said: “We apologise to the individuals involved in this case for the distress caused. The Ombudsman requires us to change the way we assess people’s income when they are responsible for funding their own care.
“We will be changing our approach and our team will be taking account of these findings in carrying out assessments in the future.
“It may not be possible to comply with the recommendation relating to assessments already undertaken but we are looking into this and have raised this matter with the Ombudsman.”
The council has agreed to apologise to the man’s wife and son and pay £6,941 to the man’s estate to reinstate his capital to £23,250. It will also pay the man’s son £250 for the time and trouble of making the complaint.