Staffordshire council missed multiple deadlines reviewing girl’s special needs plans
Staffordshire council’s consistently poor administration of a county teen’s special educational needs plan left her college unable to properly support her, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.
The girl, who has autism spectrum disorder and physical disabilities, moved to a new college from her special school in September 2019. However, because the council had not finalised her Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) by then, the college had out-of-date information about her support needs and how it could meet them. Instead of being available before her transition to college, her new plan was not finalised until May 2021.
The delay in providing the girl with an up-to-date EHC Plan was not a one-off incident. EHC Plans should be reviewed every year, but the girl’s review for 2017 was made 32 weeks late – it should have made a decision by March 2018 and this was not made till October. And a final decision for the following year was not issued because the council decided instead to review the girl’s provision when she moved to her new college.
The frequent delays meant the girl’s family lost the opportunity to appeal the contents of the plans to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Tribunal (SENDIST).
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, yesterday said:
“Without the opportunity to appeal the council’s plans, the family have been left with the uncertainty that their daughter might have been able to receive extra support had an appeal gone their way. They missed the chance, over several years, to ask the council to reinstate the Occupational Therapy review into the plan.
“The mother says a large part of her daughter’s worsening health is due to the lack of therapies, and, while I cannot say how much this and other circumstances experienced by the family has contributed, it must have caused them stress and frustration.
“I am pleased the council has agreed to my recommendations to put things right for the family, and the wider changes the council has put in place following a critical Ofsted review during this period should remedy the systemic issued raised by this complaint.”
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case the council should apologise to the girl and her mother, and pay them £750 each for the uncertainty, missed opportunities, stress and frustration the delays and missed decisions led to.
It will also pay the mother £300 for her time and trouble in repeatedly having to raise the issues and refund her £450 for the costs of the Occupational Therapy report she commissioned.
Latest News from
Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill laid in Parliament05/12/2016 12:37:21
A new complaints body will provide the public with greater confidence that their voices have been heard.
Councillor’s decision to put brakes on housing development flawed, says Ombudsman19/01/2022 11:25:00
A Haringey man was left in limbo for six years while the council decided whether to buy his house and develop the land around it, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman heard.
London council set to learn from how it handled COVID business grants14/01/2022 16:15:00
Camden Council has agreed to reconsider how it will deal with businesses that missed out on COVID grants following an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
Over 118,000 people denied compensation from DWP after benefits error cut payments13/01/2022 14:15:00
Over 118,000 people with disabilities and health problems are facing injustice by the Department of Work and Pensions after being denied the right to compensation following a government blunder over benefit payments, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has said today.
Ombudsman responds to findings of Health and Social Care Committee report: Clearing the backlog caused by the pandemic07/01/2022 13:20:00
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Rob Behrens, has responded to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report, 'Clearing the backlog caused by the pandemic'.
Family of disabled boy left without housing adaptations because of council delay10/12/2021 12:20:00
Haringey council took so long to complete adaptations to a disabled boy’s home that he had outgrown the proposals, a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation has heard.
Annual Report details how Ombudsman adapted during the pandemic10/12/2021 11:20:00
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has published its Annual Report and Accounts 2020-21, welcoming the resilience of its staff in a challenging year for everyone.
Croydon man not supported properly when he moved to new home08/12/2021 16:15:00
London Borough of Croydon did not do enough to support a man with Autism, and his mother who looked after him, an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.