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to think this LA/Social care dept has shown a lack of respect and common sense

(9 Posts)
bigbluebus Fri 22-Apr-16 18:20:47

My DM lived alone and had become quite frail over the last couple of years. She was assessed by her local Social Care department and as a result had an call system/monitor installed in her house in case she fell. She also had carers in every day. Neither I nor my DBs live near her house (1 1/2 hrs away min).

Sadly DM passed away a month ago. We have been busy grieving, arranging her funeral and dealing with all manner of other matters that need sorting out.

My DB1 informed the Council that DM had died via the 'Tell us once' system. He subsequently received a letter from the Council re the monitor asking for payment from Jan to March 2016 as the Direct Debit had been refused by DM's bank due to the account being stopped on her death. The bill has been forwarded to the Executors for payment. DB1 has now received a further letter from the Council headed 'FINAL DEMAND' which is for the rental of the monitor for the next 12 months ie from Apr 2016 to Mar 2017. The letter is addressed to the Executors of DM and is addressed to my DB (who is not an executor). Now the issues I have with this are:
1) As they know DM is dead, they should also have worked out that she will not need the monitor for the next 12 months. It was registered to her name only.
2) The FINAL DEMAND for the next 12 months is the 1st bill we have received relating to this period - so is a bill we were previously unaware of. No previous bills for this amount have been sent by them.
3) On no occassion have they written to DB asking for the return of the monitor and advising him where to return it to. DB now knows where it is to go back to now (after speaking to them on the phone following the final demand) but neither address he was given is somewhere which would have been obvious (one is a leisure centre!)
4) They have told DB that the bill will continue to accrue until the monitor is returned in spite of the fact they can tell it is disconnected from the phone line and they are not monitoring anything.
5) Social Care are aware that none of DM's family lived locally and they are in fact addressing mail to DB who is 1 1/2 hours away.

Whilst I appreciate they want their equipment back, AIBU to think that the LA could have dealt with this situation much more sympathetically and that a polite letter advising how the equipment can be returned is all that was needed. WIBU to write a letter of complaint to the LA regarding the insensitive way they clearly deal with bereaved families. My DM has only been buried for 2 weeks.

user7755 Fri 22-Apr-16 18:25:46

Sorry about your mum bigbluebus, you would definitely not be unreasonable. The LA have all the information they need, the ball is in their court now to do everything that needs doing, otherwise what is the point of the tell us once number? Ridiculous.

Write to them (or get someone else to write on your behalf as I'm sure this isn't what you need right now) and explain that they have all the information they need, it is their responsibility to share that information across all their services and to make arrangements with you to collect / return anything which is needed.

GibbousHologram Fri 22-Apr-16 18:27:34

That's appalling. I'm sorry you and your siblings are having to deal with it.

Apart from anything else, it's surely not a situation that's unique or uncommon.

I think a letter is absolutely in order.

Sorry for you loss. flowers

bigbluebus Fri 22-Apr-16 18:35:48

Gibbous * it's surely not a situation that's unique or uncommon*

This is exactly why I want to complain. Believe me I have more than my fair share of dealing with the inefficiencies of LA's and Health Depts to write a book so I am not upset, just annoyed that they can be so insensitive. These monitors are normally given to frail elderly people and the thought of an elderly widow/widower being on the receiving end of this level of insensitivity fills me with horror.

VertigoNun Fri 22-Apr-16 18:41:43

In this incidence I think a local newspaper story will help others avoid this type of situation again.Local elections may mean your local councillors would be very helpful.

GibbousHologram Fri 22-Apr-16 18:42:14

Yes, of course. In fact you'd think that close to all of their loans end this way. Complain away, for exactly that reason.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 22-Apr-16 18:47:22

I totally agree with Vertigo, and I'm not one to usually suggest involving the press. Absolutely shocking, that's the whole point of the single point of contact, surely?

Go to the local press, if you can bear it.

And sorry for your loss.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Fri 22-Apr-16 19:02:03

They are totally to blame if you used the 'Tell us once' service.

I have experienced this recently, my aunt died at the age of 94 and I used 'Tell us once' when registering her death.

We received no communication about her council flat, so cleared it out and cleaned it. When I returned the keys they hadn't ended the tenancy as the 'Tell us once' procedure had failed. She had always paid her rent in advance, and was a month in arrears. The lady at the rent office asked the council advisor I was talking to to charge me for the rent arrears! The advisor I was talking to snapped at her that it was hardly my fault they hadn't ended the tenancy when informed, and it was closed. But they still kept her last month's rent and I really resent that. It isn't the money, it's that I know she would have wanted it to go to her relatives rather than the council snaffling it.

I feel for you op and I'm sorry for your loss. I understand how hard this is to deal with when you are grieving, and how angry you feel x

bigbluebus Fri 22-Apr-16 20:19:27

I'm not sure I'd want to go to the local press in the first instance - I may consider writing to local councillors as I know that often they do not know what goes on with the day to day activites of the council officers and the wool is easily pulled over their eyes.

I don't think it is the Tell us Once system which is at fault here. Clearly the department has got the message that DM is deceased which is why they are addressing mail to the Exors of DM. It's just the lack of common sense in dealing with that information. Why would a dead person want to rent a care monitor for another 12 months and how hard can it be to write to the Exors and say please can you return the equipment to XX XX instead of demanding more money which isn't even due.

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