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Council rapped over assessment failings

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More than 60 elderly people may be eligible for a refund of care fees following an investigation into a local authority in the West Midlands.

The Local Government Ombudsman is concerned about Solihull Council’s handling of financial assessments.

A probe found that officials had failed to correctly apply the means test for care contributions, which meant that one Service User paid more than they should have done.

And there are concerns that another 63 pensioners could have lost out as a result of the blunder.

Jane Martin, the Local Government Ombudsman, said: “We always consider whether action should be taken to help the council avoid similar problems affecting others in the future.

“However, when our investigation uncovers other people who may have already suffered as a result of the faults found, we can ask councils to review those cases too.”

Solihull Council has agreed to take another look at the financial assessments of those who may have been overcharged and has been advised that it should offer a full refund if this proves to be the case.

A council spokesman said: “We accept the findings and recommendations of the Local Government Ombudsman’s report and have already begun to contact those who may be affected.”