Local Government Ombudsman
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Haringey Council delayed boy’s statement of special educational needs

Archived press release

Date Published: 29/08/12

London Borough of Haringey delayed unreasonably in issuing a statement of special educational needs for a boy with learning difficulties, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin.

In her report, issued today, she says that it took the Council over a year to issue the statement, when the national code of practice says that the period of time between the request for an assessment and the issue of a final statement should normally be no longer than 26 weeks.

A mother complained about the Council’s delay in issuing a statement of special educational needs for her son, and about the educational provision that was made.

The Ombudsman’s investigation revealed that some of the Council’s delay was in seeking information from professionals to help conduct the assessment. The cumulative delay came to more than 20 weeks and amounted to a breach of the Code of Practice. The Council also delayed in providing a laptop for the child’s use – as required by his statement of special educational needs.

The complainant was prevented from appealing to the Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal (‘SEND’) as soon as she should have been able to, which is likely to have delayed the naming of an independent residential special school in the child’s statement.

The Ombudsman finds maladministration causing injustice and in response to her recommendations the Council has agreed to:

  • pay the complainant £994.60 to reimburse her for fees incurred in sending her son to the school named on his statement of special educational needs
  • pay her £200 for the delay in making a laptop available
  • apologise to the child for the faults identified, and
  • review its procedures for carrying out assessments for children with special educational needs.

Complaint ref no 11 002 689