New children and education complaint decisions

A weekly update on children and education complaint decisions

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.

Summary: Mr Z complains of delay and other fault by the Council in meeting his special educational needs in 2017 and 2018, causing him to lose provision. The Council delayed issuing an EHC Plan in 2017 and failed to deal properly with his mother, Ms X’s complaint. It will apologise to Mr Z and Ms X and pay them £700 for missed SEN provision and their time and trouble in pursuing the matter.

Summary: The Ombudsman should not investigate Mr J’s complaint that the Council has not responded to his complaint about his son’s education. The Council has now written to Mr J and he can ask it to consider his complaint further if he is not satisfied. So there is nothing more we could achieve for Mr J at this stage.

Summary: Mrs X complained about the way the Council dealt with her when she took on the care of her grandchildren. The Council failed to explain to her fully the basis of her agreement to look after the children. It has addressed her complaint about lack of financial support. There were other failings in communications. The Council has agreed to apologise and make a payment to recognise the impact of the poor communication.

Summary: Mr X complained the Council restricted contact with his two children who are subject to a care order and live in foster care to six supervised visits a year. He said the Council has failed to transition the children back to his care after agreeing to do so. The Council was not at fault. It carried out regular child in care reviews, considered the outcome of parent assessments and psychological assessments and considered the children’s views and wishes. It decided it was in the children’s best interests to remain in foster care and decided not to change Mr X’s contact arrangements. The Council was at fault for failing to provide Mr X with consultation documents after it excluded him from the child in care reviews. It has already apologised for this oversight, but I have made a service recommendation to prevent recurrence of this fault.

Summary: Mr X complains about the actions of children services with regards to his son. The Council investigated Mr X’s complaint at stage 2 of the statutory complaint procedure but refused to consider the complaint at stage 3. The Council said this was because Mr X did not request the Council escalate to stage 3 within 20 working days. We find fault with the Council for failing to advise Mr X of the timescales to escalate his complaint. The Council has agreed to consider Mr X’s complaint at stage 3.

Summary: The Ombudsman does not propose to investigate this complaint about the Council’s action in relation to contact between the complainant and his son. This is because the majority of the complaint issues are late. We cannot add to the Council’s response regarding current actions or achieve the outcome that the complainant wants.

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about concerns the complainant has about a fostering arrangement involving some friends. This is because the complainant has no involvement with what happened and no information could be shared with him.

Summary: Ms C says the Council was responsible for numerous failures related to an investigation into risk to her children. Primarily, she says social workers and others made unjustified allegations against her. She says she suffered injustice as a result because the Council made incorrect assumptions about her children and they did not receive the support they should have done. The Council complied with the statutory complaints procedure and commissioned an independent investigation and held a review which were fair and considered the relevant information. The Ombudsman cannot, therefore, reinvestigate. However, the Council did not respond adequately to the findings and recommendations of the investigation. It should apologise and pay Ms C a sum to recognise that fault.

Summary: Mr X complains about the Council’s alleged failure to support him when he was in the care of the local authority, and when left care. In particular, he complains the Council has failed to regularise his immigration status by failing to secure him with British citizenship and a passport. There is evidence of Council fault and the Council has agreed to identify an appropriate solicitor and fund the application, which it agreed to do in 2017.

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint about lack of support from the Council’s social services team when she was a child. This is because the complaint is late and there is no reason Ms X could not have complained earlier.

Summary: Ms X complained the Council delayed reviewing and amending her daughter, F’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan in preparation for her transition to post-16 education. The Council was at fault. It failed to review and issue an amended EHC Plan in line with the law and guidance for transition to post-16 education. It meant F was without an educational placement and an up to date EHC Plan for the start of the academic year. The Council agreed to pay Ms X £300 for F’s benefit to recognise the distress and uncertainty caused to her. It also agreed to pay Ms X £100 to remedy the distress and time and trouble caused to her. The Council will also review its transition to post-16 education procedures.

Summary: Miss P complained the Council failed to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan for her daughter, Q, in a timely way. She said the school Q attended at the time did not want to offer sufficient support. Miss P also complained that the Council delayed in identifying the school Q now attends. The investigation has been discontinued because Miss P could have complained about the actions of the Council earlier and because her complaint about the school is outside of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

Summary: Ms X complains the Council did not provide a passenger assistant to accompany her daughter to school for a three week period and then delayed arranging a permanent passenger assistant. There was fault by the Council because it did not ensure a passenger assistant was in place for Ms X’s daughter even though it was required to do so. The Council agreed a financial remedy for Ms X’s daughter to reflect the loss of education she suffered in consequence of the fault.

Summary: Mr X complained the Council failed to properly consider his appeal for home to school transport for his secondary school aged child. There was fault in the process followed but this did not cause an injustice. The Council should review its communication with appellants to prevent a recurrence of the fault.

Summary: Ms X complained the Council provided her with misleading information about the school it named on her son, Z’s, Education, Health and Care Plan and delayed in carrying out an assessment by an Educational Psychologist. Ms X says that as a result of this, Z spent a year at a school that could not meet his needs which had a detrimental effect on his progress. The Council has already admitted it gave Ms X misleading information. It should now increase the financial payment it previously offered Ms X.