16 004 003

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 29 Nov 2016

Summary

A family complains on behalf of their son that the council did not provide the speech and language and occupational therapy support required by his Statement.

The complaint

They say this has caused their son a significant disadvantage and has affected both his learning and his ability to make friends.  It has also caused them additional frustration as they complained to the LGO about a similar fault in 2015 and their complaint was upheld.

During the investigation we found two other families were affected by significant delays in receiving the therapies required by one child’s Statement and another’s Education, Health and Care Plan.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused the council has agreed to:

  • apologise to Mr & Mrs X for failing to meet its statutory obligations with regard to therapies specified in their son’s Statement;

  • pays Mr & Mrs X £300 for the time and trouble of bringing the complaint to the Ombudsman again when they could reasonably have expected the matters to have been resolved by their previous complaint to us;

  • pays Mr & Mrs X £1000 for them to use for Y’s educational benefit for the disruption to his special educational needs support and the cumulative detrimental effect this is likely to have had on him given the findings in this case and the previous case;

  • keeps a clear record of the number of sessions Y has missed with the Speech and Language Therapist and the Occupational Therapist from February to July 2016. Also to record the number of additional sessions he has since received to make up for that loss so this can be audited and updated to us until all the additional sessions have been provided;

  • produces an action plan of how it will monitor whether it has received Annual Review reports from schools within the timescales set out in the Council’s policy and how it can enforce this;

  • addresses as a priority the lack of commissioning expertise and puts in place a clear action plan to establish good practice, achievable outcomes and a robust short, medium and long term commissioning strategy;

  • produces an action plan against practical targets, not just a series of meetings, to ensure therapies are provided as soon as possible, before any new commissioning arrangement post 2017. The Council should report its progress against this action plan to us every two months until the issue is resolved;

  • considers complaints from other families that arise as a result of the issues highlighted in our report and takes appropriate action to remedy any injustice the families have been caused. If those people remain dissatisfied the Council should ensure they are signposted to the Ombudsman.

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