Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, children & education summaries 21 May 2020

All cases can be found at this link 

Please note: our decisions are published three months after they are issued to councils, care providers and the person who has made the complaint. The cases below reflect the caselaw and guidance available at the time of issue and the individual circumstances of each case.

Staffordshire County Council (18 007 396)
Summary: Mrs B complained about how the Council handled child protection issues relating to her daughter. The Council did not invite Mrs B to a child in need meeting and did not provide her with the minutes of that meeting. The Council’s apology and reminder to officers is satisfactory remedy for the injustice caused.

Herefordshire Council (19 006 691)
Summary: The Council failed to provide Miss X’s son with appropriate levels of care and support whilst he was in the Council’s care. The Council identified this during its investigation of Miss X’s complaint but failed to provide a remedy for the injustice this caused. The Council should pay Miss X £1500 to recognise the distress caused and her time and trouble pursuing this complaint. The Council should also pay Miss X’s son £1000 to recognise the uncertainty he has been caused.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (19 015 610)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the loss of some of the complainant’s belongings. This is because the complaint is made late, and there are no good reasons to consider it now. Additionally a complaint about a Subject Access Request (SAR) is better considered by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Lancashire County Council (19 015 871)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Miss X’s complaint the Council lied in court reports to place her child into care. This is because the complaint concerns a decision made by the court.

Durham County Council (19 016 879)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint about the Council’s involvement with her family. This is because we cannot investigate matters which have been considered or decided in court.

Kent County Council (19 014 869)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s court report and the actions of its social worker. It is outside jurisdiction due to court proceedings. The Council has agreed to deal further with the second complaint about how an incident at a school, involving Mr X’s son, was investigated.

Essex County Council (19 015 314)
Summary: Mr X complains about the Council’s involvement with his family and the actions of a social worker linked to a Special Guardianship Order. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint. This is because it is reasonable for Mr X to raise his concerns in court, and we cannot consider complaints about ongoing court action.

London Borough of Bromley (19 016 086)
Summary: Miss X complained about how the Council dealt with her daughter’s allegations against a family member. We should not investigate this complaint as it is unlikely we could add to the Council’s investigation or recommend a further remedy.

Kent County Council (19 005 075)
Summary: Mr X and Ms Y complained the Council did not provide appropriate support when two children were placed with them on an adoption placement. They said the lack of support led to the failure of the placement. They also said the Council’s complaint investigation was flawed. There was no fault in how the Council considered their complaint under the children’s statutory complaints procedure. As it appropriately considered the complaint, the Ombudsman will not re-investigate.

Hampshire County Council (19 015 324)
Summary: Mr X complains the Council holds inaccurate information about him which resulted in the Council holding a Child Protection Conference. The Ombudsman will not investigate because Mr X complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office and it is unlikely that we would achieve a different outcome.

Cheshire West & Chester Council (19 016 802)
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Ms B’s complaint about the Council’s response to safeguarding concerns about two children. This is because the complaint is made on behalf of a public body.

London Borough of Bexley (19 018 411)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s 11+ test review process. This is because the complainant has a right of appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel if his daughter is refused a place at the grammar school that he wants her to attend, and it is reasonable to expect him to use it.

Torbay Council (18 019 676)
Summary: Ms B and Mr C complaint about the way the Council handled a safeguarding referral about Ms D’s (Ms B’s daughter) children. The Ombudsman has found no evidence of fault.

London Borough of Wandsworth (19 000 704)
Summary: Miss X complained the Council failed to investigate her safeguarding concerns about a foster carer who cared for two of her children between July 2016 and March 2017. The Council was at fault. It failed to adequately investigate Miss X’s concerns and to properly refer some of the matters to the Local Authority Designated Officer in another council area, in line with relevant guidance and policy. The Council also took two years to complete the statutory children’s complaints process. The Council agreed to apologise and pay Miss X a total of £550 to recognise the injustice caused to her. It also agreed to review some of its internal processes.

Cambridgeshire County Council (19 001 866)
Summary: Mr B says the Council wrongly placed his son on a child protection plan when it accepts it failed to follow the right process and completed a flawed single assessment. There were some errors in the single assessment which did not affect the overall outcome. The Council failed to consider sharing a redacted version of the single assessment with Mr B before the initial child protection conference. Those errors have undermined Mr B’s confidence in the process. An apology and reminder to officers is satisfactory remedy for the injustice caused.

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (19 016 108)
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss X’s complaint about children services actions in 2013 and 2014. Miss X has known about the complaint for more than 12 months and there are no good reasons why Miss X did not complain to the Ombudsman sooner.

East Sussex County Council (19 009 275)
Summary: there is no fault in the Council’s original decision not to provide transport for Ms M’s son, B, to college. The Ombudsman cannot question decisions taken without fault. However, it appears Ms M’s circumstances have changed since her original application, so she could consider making a fresh application.

Torbay Council (18 013 702)
Summary: The Ombudsman finds fault with the way the Council conducted a Position of Trust meeting and Initial Child Protection Case Conference in respect of concerns about Mr B. The Council has agreed actions to remedy the injustice caused to Mr B.

Northamptonshire County Council (19 017 038)
Summary: Mr L complained the Council defamed his character when it raised concerns about his safety around children and asked him to attend a course for perpetrators. The Ombudsman cannot consider this complaint as it was considered in court.

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