Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, children & education summaries 05 Dec 2019

All cases can be found at this link 

London Borough of Bromley (18 006 102)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss A’s complaint that the Council’s social worker was at fault in its involvement with her family, and that the Council has been at fault in how it has responded to her complaint. This is because the substantive matters about which Miss A complains have been, or could have been, aired in court.

Cumbria County Council (18 012 950)
Summary: Mr Y complained the Council failed to tell him, in a timely manner, whether he could have contact with his niece and nephew who lived in the Council’s area. The Council was at fault for the time it took to share its view with him and for the distress caused. The Council has been asked to apologise and make a financial settlement.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council (19 000 579)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint that the Council has been at fault in its involvement with his children. This is because the matters about which he complains could be, or could have been, raised in court.

London Borough of Wandsworth (19 004 693)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint that Wandsworth Council has refused to investigate her complaint about a company which provides a children’s youth service on its behalf and which had contact with her son. The Council is not at fault and correctly advised Ms X that she should complain to Lambeth Council which is responsible for safeguarding her son.

Essex County Council (19 005 255)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about the involvement of the Council’s social services in the complainant’s family. This is because the matter is related to court proceedings and is therefore out of our jurisdiction.

Lancashire County Council (18 017 031)
Summary: Mrs Y complained about the Council’s failure to make proper arrangements for her son, who has special education needs, when he moved to post 16 education. The Ombudsman has found the Council to be at fault that caused an injustice to both Mrs Y and her son. To remedy this injustice, the Council has agreed to apologise, make a payment to Mrs Y and review its procedures to ensure reviews take place when they should to allow for proper transition planning to take place.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council (19 005 586)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss X’s complaint about the Council’s provision for her son’s special educational needs. This is because it is reasonable for Miss X to use her right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal.

Sheffield City Council (19 007 190)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint that the Council’s Schools Admissions Appeal Panel failed to provide her child with a place at her preferred school. It is unlikely the Ombudsman would find fault which caused them to lose out on a school place.

Leeds City Council (19 007 410)
Summary: The Ombudsman should not investigate Miss X’s complaint about a school admission appeal. The Council has offered a new appeal and it is unlikely we could achieve more.

Somerset County Council (19 008 041)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mrs A’s complaint that the school admission appeal panel was at fault in refusing her appeal for a school place for her daughter. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault on the Council’s part.

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council (18 004 824)
Summary: Mrs X complains about the way the Council responded to safeguarding concerns she raised regarding her daughter’s school. There is no fault in the way the Council responded to her concerns or the way the Council reviewed the action it had taken.

Devon County Council (18 013 412)
Summary: The Ombudsmen will not investigate Mr and Mrs Y’s complaint about the way the Trust and the Council carried out a safeguarding enquiry. This is because an investigation is unlikely to add to the responses Mr and Mrs Y have already received.

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (18 015 747)
Summary: the Council included inaccurate information about an historical issue in child protection meetings. That did not affect the outcome of those meetings but caused Miss B distress. The Council has apologised and added an addendum to the minutes. That is satisfactory remedy.

Shropshire Council (19 000 945)
Summary: Mrs X complained about the way the Council dealt with a child protection investigation. The Ombudsman finds that the Council failed to investigate Mrs X’s complaint under stage two of the Children’s Act 1989. This caused Mrs X some uncertainty about whether the outcome of her complaint may have been different. The Council has agreed to carry out a stage two investigation and make an apology and payment to Mrs X to remedy the injustice caused.

Staffordshire County Council (18 013 684)
Summary: Mrs X complains the Council failed to comply with statutory requirements in relation to her son’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The Council is at fault. Its failure to act in line with statutory guidance has caused Mrs X and her son, XX, an injustice. We have made recommendations to remedy this injustice including a payment to acknowledge the distress caused and system reviews.

London Borough of Enfield (19 003 803)
Summary: Mr X complains about the way the Council managed the process which considered his twin daughters’ school admissions appeal. He says the independent panel which heard the case did not properly consider the information he submitted in support of it. The Ombudsman has found the Council was at fault for not considering Mr X’s appeal in full or documenting the reasons behind the panel’s decision. It is possible the panel could have reached a different decision if the case was properly considered. Therefore, we have recommended that Mr X’s appeal be heard again by a new panel not previously connected with the case. We have also made a service improvement recommendation to prevent the faults we have identified from reoccurring. The Council has accepted our recommendations.

London Borough of Enfield (19 004 089)
Summary: Mr X complains about the way the Council managed the process which considered his son’s school admissions appeal and says he was not allowed to present his case in full. He wants a new panel not previously connected with the appeal to reconsider it so he has the opportunity to present his case in full. The Ombudsman has found the Council was not at fault because the panel considered all the information that Mr X submitted in support of his case that was relevant to the appeal before deciding to reject it.

Sunderland City Council (19 002 360)
Summary: Miss X complains the Council failed to consider safeguarding concerns she raised in relation to her grandchildren. The Council investigated her complaint at Stage 1 of the statutory Children Act complaints procedure but it refused Miss X’s request to proceed to Stage 2 of the procedure, an independent investigation. This is fault. The Council has agreed to arrange a Stage 2 investigation without further delay.

Staffordshire County Council (19 003 632)
Summary: Mr F’s complaint relates to matters which have been considered by a court. It is therefore outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

East Sussex County Council (19 005 433)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint about an alleged data breach involving her family’s personal data. This is because the Information Commissioner’s Office is the appropriate body to consider her concerns.

Bedford Borough Council (19 005 482)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss X’s complaint about an alleged data breach involving her personal information. This is because the Information Commissioner’s Office is the appropriate body to consider her concerns.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council (18 017 846)
Summary: the Council left Mrs B’s son without education for 16 weeks, delayed completing a reassessment of his education, health and care plan and failed to take her complaint to stage two. An apology, payment to reflect the lost education, payment for Mrs B’s time and trouble, reminder to officers and agreement to review the Council’s feedback policy is satisfactory remedy.

Cambridgeshire County Council (19 005 031)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint about the Council’s decision not to provide her son with free transport to school. This is because there is not enough evidence of fault by the Council to warrant an investigation by the Ombudsman.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (18 017 459)
Summary: Miss X complained about the Council’s decision to stop support for her children because it considered she had not applied to the Home Office for leave to remain in the UK. There was fault in how the Council made this decision. It has agreed to apologise to Miss X, pay her £200 and review its future approach to considering whether there is evidence of applications to the Home Office.

London Borough of Bexley (19 000 501)
Summary: The Council was not at fault for most of the actions it took to investigate concerns about the safety of Mr B’s children. However, it was at fault for failing to explain to Mr B that the contact restrictions it put in place during its investigation were voluntary, because they were not supported by a court order. Mr B suffered injustice in the form of uncertainty; however, his injustice was limited because the Council’s failure did not actually affect his contact with his children. The Council has agreed to apologise to Mr B, and to take action to improve its practice in future.

Kent County Council (18 004 296)
Summary: Mr B complains that the Council failed to make reasonable adjustments for his son, C, when taking the Kent Test which determines eligibility for grammar school places in Kent. He also says that the independent appeals panel did not properly consider his claim of disability discrimination. The Ombudsman has found no fault in the way the Council considered reasonable adjustments for C or the way the panel considered his appeal for a place at his preferred school.

St James’s Church of England High School (19 002 990)
Summary: Miss V complains a school admission appeal acted with fault by not giving her child, W, a place at the school of her choice. She did not feel it considered W’s needs, or the evidence she submitted, appropriately. This complaint is outside of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction as it relates to an academy.

Thurrock Council (18 010 355)
Summary: Mrs F complained the Council failed to manage the process of transitioning her son, Mr G, from a Statement of Special Educational Needs to an Education, Health and Care Plan. There is evidence of fault and the Council has agreed to apologise, to make a payment and to amend its procedures.

Kent County Council (18 017 342)
Summary: The complainant says that the Council delayed in completing her daughter’s Education, Health and Care Plan, failed to tell her that an independent special school had offered her daughter a place and delayed in providing alternative educational provision. The Ombudsman finds that the Council has been at fault on all three complaints and this has caused an injustice. The Council has accepted the findings and recommendations. The Ombudsman has therefore completed his investigation and is closing the complaint.

Westminster City Council (18 018 185)
Summary: Mr X complained on behalf of child R. Mr X complained the Council failed to provide R with suitable education after they arrived in the United Kingdom as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child. The Council was at fault. It delayed completing R’s personal education plan and failed to ensure they received suitable education between September 2017 and March 2018. The Council should pay R £800 to use for the benefit of their education and a further £250 for the uncertainty caused by its delay in handling the complaint.

Kent County Council (19 004 300)
Summary: The Ombudsman considers that there was fault by the independent appeal panel which considered Ms X’s school admissions appeal. However, he considers this did not cause injustice because it did not affect the outcome.

Lancashire County Council (18 014 601)
Summary: The complainant is concerned that the Council is failing to abide by the contact arrangements to her granddaughter, as ordered by the Court. The Ombudsman does not find fault in the Council’s earlier actions but there is now an opportunity to improve contact arrangements for the complainant if in the interests of her granddaughter. The Council has accepted this. The Ombudsman has therefore completed his investigation and is closing the complaint.

Gloucestershire County Council (18 016 293)
Summary: Mr X complains the Council has not implemented the recommendations made at stage two and three of the statutory children’s complaints procedure. The Ombudsman finds fault with the Council for failing to complete two of the recommendations made. The Council has agreed to pay Mr X a financial remedy, and to complete the outstanding recommendation.

Gloucestershire County Council (19 001 752)
Summary: Mr and Mrs B complain the Council has not produced a report summarising the findings of its investigation into allegations made against them as foster parents. Mrs B is a social worker and is concerned it could impact on her future employment if the findings are not summarised clearly. The Ombudsman does not find fault.

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (19 004 487)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr X and Ms Y’s complaint about the way the Council responded to concerns about a child’s welfare. Most of the issues they raise have been considered in court and are therefore outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

London Borough of Newham (18 007 418)
Summary: Mr X complains of failings by the Council in dealing with disclosures by his children and in managing a contact session. He says this has left them at risk of harm. While there was no fault in most of the matters complained of, a worker arrived slightly late for the contact session, leading to some awkwardness. However, the worker’s apology is sufficient for the limited injustice caused to Mr X.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (19 007 943)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss A’s complaint that the school admission appeal panel was at fault in refusing her appeal for a school place for her son. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault on the Council’s part.

London Borough of Camden (18 018 426)
Summary: Mrs X complained the Council failed to provide alternative education for her son, Z, for almost a year when he was unable to attend mainstream school due to illness. She said this had a negative impact on her son and his GCSE results. The Council was at fault when it failed to secure tuition for Z for three months after it had received information that he was unable to attend school. The Council should make a payment of £800 to Mrs X to recognise the injustice Z suffered when he did not receive an education for three months.

Warrington Council (19 005 537)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms A’s complaint that the Council is at fault in refusing to provide school transport for her son. It would be appropriate for Ms A to use her right to appeal.

East Sussex County Council (19 006 420)
Summary: A parent complained that the Council had unreasonably refused to review the information it asks for in school application forms regarding the child in question’s parents. But the Ombudsman does not have reason to investigate this matter because there is no sign of fault by the Council.

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