Charity pays family £70,000 out of court over neglect claims

The National Autistic Society (NAS) has agreed to pay the family of a Leicestershire man £70,000 after it was claimed he was neglected and abused while in the charity’s care.

Martin Hussey was living in Leicestershire but was moved into supported living accommodation run by NAS in Croydon in 2015 to be closer to his family. But during the next five years, his family claimed the charity failed to provide appropriate care for the 54-year-old.

Mr Hussey’s sister, Jules Hussey, said workers did not provide him with the right medications, did not take him to medical appointments, and did not provide the one-to-one support they had promised. She also claimed they failed to account for his money.

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The NAS has told the family it is “very sorry” and agreed to pay them £70,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

Ms Hussey said: “I never thought I would ever have to take legal action against a charity. It goes against everything I believe in. I kept hoping that the NAS would fulfil their promises and ensure Martin got the help and support he needed, deserved and paid for. But they just didn’t want to engage.

“When I found the NAS placement my family thought ‘finally this is it’. We have found a place with the best provider there is for autism support in the UK. We couldn’t have been more wrong.”

Ms Hussey went on to say that she attempted to work with the NAS to improve the service but instead it led to her and members of her family being “demonised”.

“They tried to ignore, dismiss and belittle the failures in Martin’s care – failures which have had a huge impact on his physical and mental wellbeing and his safety,” she said.

Mr Hussey is now being supported by a new provider in Croydon and told Channel 4 in a news report on Tuesday that he was “happy, with friends and family”.

His family launched the civil claim against the NAS after receiving legal advice from SEN Legal.

Caroline Stevens, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, said: “We are very sorry that we didn’t get things right for Martin.

“Our staff team worked hard over a number of years to address the family’s concerns, as we would with any worried family, and apologised where we could have done things better. And we were rigorous in our reporting to the authorities, who were in a position to investigate further had they been dissatisfied with how any issues were dealt with.

“Martin’s family remained unhappy with how we responded to their concerns, so brought a civil claim for compensation against our charity, as is their right. However, we felt it was not in anyone’s interest to go through a costly and potentially lengthy legal process, and so in the end we agreed on this settlement.

“We do everything possible to make sure that all our services meet the high standards that are expected by the people we support and their families. Most of our services are rated as good by regulators and family satisfaction is high – but we didn’t get it right for Martin and his family and we want to reiterate our apology to them.”

Leicestershire Live – Leicester News