Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, children & education summaries 08 January 2020

All cases can be found at this link 

London Borough of Camden (18 009 318)
Summary: the Council failed to properly respond and consider Mr F’s complaints in August 2018 but that there is no fault in the substantive issues raised in relation to the Council’s role in his contact with his children or its contact with another council. The Council should apologise for its poor handling of his complaints in August.

Staffordshire County Council (18 015 217)
Summary: the Council failed to provide effective support for Ms M to care for her son, H, when it decided more support was needed. As a result, Ms M has been left to care for H without the support the Council decided she needed. This lasted over a year. The Council did not make a decision at all when Ms M said she could no longer cope and asked the Council to take H into care.

London Borough of Bromley (18 016 810)
Summary: Mr X complains the Council failed to act on his concerns about his son’s care by his ex-partner, leaving the child at risk. The records show the Council met its duties under the Children Act 1989.

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council (18 017 733)
Summary: Mr B says the Council refused to allow him contact with his grandchildren, failed to take action when one of its social workers assaulted him, banned him from Council buildings and discriminated against him by placing restrictions on his contact with Council officers. There is no fault in how the Council dealt with Mr B’s contact with his grandchildren, the complaint about the social worker or his attendance at Council buildings. The Council’s communications with Mr B about restrictions placed on him was confused and its policy is not clear but there is no evidence of discrimination. An apology, a revised letter to Mr B about the restrictions placed on him and a review of the Council’s policy is satisfactory remedy.

Durham County Council (19 000 152)
Summary: Ms X complained about the Council’s decisions regarding a temporary placement for her grandchild and the contact arrangements for her son and his children. The Ombudsman has stopped investigating the complaint. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault and we cannot achieve the outcomes Ms X and her son want.

West Sussex County Council (19 003 740)
Summary: We have discontinued our investigation into Mrs B’s complaint. It is unlikely we could add to the Council’s own findings, or achieve the outcome Mrs B wants. If she wants to pursue her complaint, other bodies are better-placed to consider the data protection and staff conduct issues she has raised.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council (19 007 457)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Miss A’s complaint that the Council has allowed her daughter to be placed with her former partner. This is because the complaint concerns a decision made by the court.

Portsmouth City Council (19 007 462)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mrs A’s complaint that the Council disclosed confidential information to a third party. This is because Mrs A may bring her concerns about the disclosure to the attention of the Information Commissioner, and investigation by the Ombudsman would not achieve the outcome she wants.

Lancashire County Council (18 017 554)
Summary: Mr Y complained the Council failed to provide him with his ‘approved list’ or inform him which children he could have contact with, with ‘the express approval of social services’ (as per the wording of his Sexual Harm Prevention Order). It also failed to give proper direction to another council as to what information to provide to him. There is evidence of Council fault and the Council has agreed to apologise, to make a payment for time and trouble and to ensure its procedures are clear.

London Borough of Wandsworth (18 018 494)
Summary: Mr Z complains of failings by the Council in dealing with him as the father of a young child, X. There was fault in several matters, though not all. These faults included poor communication and significant delay in dealing with Mr Z’s complaint. These caused him lost opportunity and unnecessary time and trouble as well as a loss of trust in the Council. The Council will apologise, pay Mr Z £805 and place a copy of this decision on X’s social care records.

Plymouth City Council (19 000 933)
Summary: Mrs D complains the Council has wrongly reduced the amount it pays her as a special guardian and failed to provide other assistance. The Council was not at fault in how it dealt with payments to Mrs D as a special guardian but it did not follow the statutory complaint process. Mrs D did not suffer any injustice because of this.

London Borough of Wandsworth (19 001 453)
Summary: Miss X complains about the way the Council handled her complaint about the service she received from the housing advisors in its Future First Team. She says it took too long to deal with the complaint and its responses have failed to address the concerns she raised, as she is still not getting the support she needs. Likewise, she feels it has not acted to remedy the injustice caused by its faults and states the payments it has offered her are insufficient. The Ombudsman has found the Council was at fault for not ensuring the stage two investigation into Miss X’s complaint was completed within the requisite timeframe. However, we have found the actions it has taken adequately remedies the injustice caused by this fault and those already identified by the investigation.

Nottingham City Council (18 017 591)
Summary: Mrs X complains the Council was at fault in carrying out a social care assessment of her son’s needs and in transferring his Education Health and Care Plan to the Council’s own Plan. The Ombudsman has found no evidence of fault in the way the Council dealt with the social care assessment and transfer of the Plan. The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mrs X’s complaints about the school her son attended as the law prevents the Ombudsman from investigating such matters. The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mrs X’s complaints about the lack of educational provision to her son while he was out of school and the Council’s decision to name the school her son attended as his current educational provider in the Plan it produced. Mrs X has appealed to a tribunal about the named provider and commenced legal proceedings against the Council. The law prevents the Ombudsman from investigating in such circumstances.

Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council (19 002 628)
Summary: The Council failed to consider Mr X’s complaints under the statutory children’s complaints process. The Council has now agreed to consider Mr X’s complaint at stage 2 of the process.

Staffordshire County Council (19 006 803)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about children services involvement in his family. It is not appropriate for us to investigate while court proceedings continue.

Nottingham City Council (19 007 252)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about a court report prepared by the Council or the court’s decision to stop the complainant taking his children out of the country. This is because the law prevents the Ombudsman from investigating anything which has been considered in court. The Ombudsman will not investigate the complainant’s concerns about contact arrangements as it is unlikely he would find fault.

Torbay Council (19 004 556)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s handling of a child protection matter. The various elements of the complaint are closely bound up with legal proceedings which themselves lie outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction and there is no clear outcome that an investigation could achieve.

Gloucestershire County Council (19 006 169)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint about the Council’s involvement with her family and how it dealt with child protection concerns. A court is considering the situation. Earlier events are outside jurisdiction because Ms X is complaining late.

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