The council has been forced to pay the family of a vulnerable adult more than £1,000 after he was found sleeping on a mattress “sodden with urine” for “some time”.

The man, given the initial ‘J’ to conceal his identity, was residing at Voyage Care’s Hilltops supported living environment in Whitley, but Reading Borough Council (RBC) failed to take action when it first heard concerns about the support the provider was giving J.

A report produced by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) read: “The failure to provide J with appropriate care and support would have caused him significant distress.

“Staff did not learn Makaton to communicate with J, did not offer a sufficient variety of activities and for some time he was sleeping on a wet mattress.”

J, who is 29 years old and has a “profound learning disability”, was found to have been sleeping on the mattress “for some time” as “there was a large patch of mould” on its underside.

However, RBC only investigated the service provided at Hilltops once J’s parents raised a safeguarding concern and J had moved out in May 2017, despite his parents first raising concerns about the service in February 2017.

The LGO found that an RBC social worker, who “had concerns” about the living environment, should have taken prompt action to notify the council’s quality performance management team about the support Voyage Care was providing.

The investigation showed that there was “a failure”, on behalf of Voyage Care, “to provide appropriate care and support to J, failure to update J’s support plan, poor record keeping, failure to properly report incidents, failure to provide appropriate training, lack of activities available for service users, a failure to recognise poor practice and a lack of supervision.”

Following the investigation into Hilltops, it was agreed that the council should ‘red flag’ the supported living accommodation, meaning the authority would not place any other residents at Hilltops until the home’s issues had been resolved.  

J’s mother complained to the LGO following J’s relocation to a different care home and as a result the authority has been forced to pay the mother £1,000, to be spent on something “J would like”, as well as another £100 for the trouble pursuing the complaint caused the mother.

The LGO’s report, which has only recently been published, also details that the council has agreed to apologise to the J and his mother, as well as to give social care staff further training.

Reading Borough Council was contacted for comment, and in response, a spokesman said: “It is regrettable from the council's perspective that the issues in the private supported living accommodation were not identified and acted upon sooner and we have apologised to the young man and his family for that.

“Our safeguarding team visited the supported living environment when the concerns were raised and subsequently initiated a multi-agency investigation into the circumstances surrounding the young man’s living arrangements.

“We have since reviewed our transition procedures and we put an action plan in place for the supported living accommodation in relation to support and supervision, training, the creation and review of care plans and the availability of activities for service users. We reviewed the action plan and were satisfied that the accommodation provider had completed all these actions.”