Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, children & education summaries 03 October 2019

All cases can be found at this link 

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (18 010 816)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Ms A’s complaint about the way the Council has treated her during its safeguarding investigations. This is because there are ongoing court proceedings so the Ombudsman cannot investigate these matters.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council (18 011 199)
Summary: Mr X complained the Council failed to properly support him after he started to look after his granddaughter, Z, in 2016. He says it has not properly managed or risk assessed Z’s contact with her birth father, Mr D. The Council failed to properly consider paying Mr X appropriate financial support until it awarded him Special Guardianship Allowance in 2018. It has agreed to make him a backdated payment equivalent to his Special Guardianship Allowance and apologise. This is appropriate to remedy the injustice caused by this fault. Z’s contact plan was agreed by Court and does not allow her contact with Mr D. The Council has offered to reassess the appropriateness of Z having contact with Mr D if circumstances change. There is no fault in this decision.

Worcestershire County Council (18 014 886)
Summary: Mr X complains that the Council took his children to their maternal grandmother’s home in breach of a court order. He also complains that there were delays in the Council’s handling of his complaint. He says this caused him stress and depression, and cost him legal fees and time off work. He says it also caused a breakdown in the family relationship. A court has already decided there was no breach of the court order, so the Ombudsman cannot look at this part of Mr X’s complaint. The Ombudsman finds fault with the Council for failing to act on a part of the Investigating Officer’s recommendations, for failing to send a letter within the timescale the Council set out, and for delays in handling Mr X’s complaint. The Ombudsman is satisfied with the action the Council has taken so far to remedy the injustice, but the Council will also apologise to Mr X for the delay in sending the letter.

Rutland County Council (18 016 502)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about the actions of a social worker in relation to the complainant’s child. This is because most of the issues raised are out of jurisdiction because they relate to court proceedings or to a police investigation. Additionally there is no fault in the Council’s refusal to change the social worker.

London Borough of Bromley (18 019 407)
Summary: Miss X complains the Council failed to make payments for the entire period she looked after her granddaughter after her foster care placement ended. The Council has not considered the complaint at stage two of the statutory complaints procedure and there are no grounds for the Ombudsman to consider the complaint before the stage two investigation is completed. The Council should now conduct a stage two investigation.

London Borough of Lambeth (19 002 176)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s multiple complaints about various Council services. The complaints are either too old, about criminal matters, better suited to the Information Commissioner’s Office or have previously been considered by us.

Essex County Council (19 002 188)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint about problems with bank accounts held on behalf of children she fostered. The injustice caused to Mrs X is not significant enough to justify an investigation.

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council (18 018 769)
Summary: Mrs X complained that the Council delayed in issuing an Education Health and Care Plan for her son. This caused stress, uncertainty and additional time and trouble to the family. The Council apologised and has now finalised an agreed Education Health and Care Plan.

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council (19 003 903)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint that the Council’s school admission appeal panel refused his appeal for a school place for his daughter. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault on the Council’s part.

Wakefield City Council (18 006 928)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about a viability assessment of the complainant as a carer for her grandson, and the Council’s actions in relation to the assessment. This is because there is nothing we could add to the Council’s previous investigation, we cannot achieve the outcomes that the complainant is seeking, and part of the complaint is out of our jurisdiction.

Hartlepool Borough Council (18 018 882)
Summary: Mrs X complains the Council failed to provide adequate support to Mr Y, a former relevant child, and failed to provide her with financial support when he stayed with her. The Council was not at fault.

Hertfordshire County Council (19 001 227)
Summary: Mr X complains the Council has not followed the correct guidelines before sharing personal information about him. He also complains about action taken by the Council on the need for supervision of any visits to his parent’s home. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because the Information Commissioner’s Office is the appropriate body to consider complaints about personal data. And we are unlikely to find fault in the Council’s dealings with him.

London Borough of Bromley (18 000 958)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the involvement of the Council’s social services with the complainant’s family. This is because the complaint is made late and there is no good reason to exercise the Ombudsman’s discretion to investigate it now.

Surrey County Council (18 008 916)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about the involvement of the Council’s social services department with the complainant’s family. This is because the matter was taken to court, and is therefore out of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. We will not investigate a subsidiary complaint regarding the care provided for the complainant’s children as there is nothing that we could add to the Council’s response.

Kent County Council (18 012 636)
Summary: There is fault by the Council in its means testing for disabled special guardians as its model fails to take into account extra costs related to disability when assessing resources available to the household. The Council will apologise and allow the complainant, and others affected, an opportunity to evidence disability expenditure and to have their claims backdated.

London Borough of Redbridge (19 001 772)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about the Council’s actions in relation to care and residence of the complainant’s children. This is because the decisions were made in court, and are out of our jurisdiction.

London Borough of Newham (19 001 773)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about the Council’s actions in relation to care and residence of the complainant’s children. This is because the decisions were made in court, and are out of our jurisdiction.

Staffordshire County Council (18 009 917)
Summary: Miss X complained the Council caused distress by disclosing her address to her abusive ex-partner. There is fault and the Council has agreed to pay Miss X £500 to remedy the risk of harm and distress caused. Miss X also complained about the social worker’s conduct and the Council’s failure to escalate her complaint to stage 2 of the statutory children’s complaints procedure. There is no fault on this aspect of Miss X’s complaint.

Kent County Council (18 015 096)
Summary: Mrs X complained the Council failed to provide her and her husband, Mr X suitable training and support while they were foster carers. It then failed to consider the Independent Review Mechanism decision and decided to de-register them as foster carers. The Council was at fault for failing to provide Mr and Mrs X with training and support needed, however, it was not at fault in its decision to de-register them as carers.

London Borough of Lewisham (18 019 158)
Summary: I have stopped investigating Miss X’s complaint about the financial support provided by the Council when she was a foster carer and then a Special Guardian. This is because the complaint has not completed the Council’s statutory complaints procedure.

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (18 017 303)
Summary: Miss J complained the Council failed to offer her appropriate support when she tried to contest adoption proceedings about her children. The substantive issues have been to court, which puts them outside of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction while other issues could have been raised in court. The Council is not at fault for Miss J being unable to obtain Legal Aid.

London Borough of Hounslow (18 017 781)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s safeguarding investigation of child A and its response to his complaint. We do not have a consent from child A for a complaint and there is insufficient injustice to Mr X. The Ombudsman has written to the Council about the practice issues. We have asked the Council to check that it has safeguarded child A’s welfare.

Kent County Council (17 018 368)
Summary: Ms A complains about the treatment of her son by a Council and two Trusts in relation to school provision and mental health care. The Ombudsmen uphold the complaint against the Council due to a lack of tuition and school provision. The complaint is also upheld against both Trusts in relation to an autism assessment.

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