Decision : Upheld
Decision date : 18 Dec 2018
Summary: Mr F complains the Council failed to protect his young son, B, from harm. B’s mother, Ms M, told the Council she had ended her relationship following an assault by her partner, P. However, she quickly resumed the relationship. B was seriously injured by P. B now lives with his father, Mr F.
The Council missed opportunities to protect B from harm. When concerns were raised about Ms M’s children, the Council did not have a plan to check on the children’s whereabouts or welfare. While the Council did not cause B’s injuries, Mr F is left in the undesirable position of wondering whether, if the Council had put in place a plan to check on the children’s whereabouts and welfare, B could have been spared the injuries he sustained at the hands of P. The Council unfairly blamed Mr F and his mother, Mrs PGM, for failing to raise their concerns sooner. The Council also disregarded a Court Order in respect of contact between Ms M and her daughter, G, following the incident. The Council took 76 weeks too long to consider Mr F’s complaint. Its investigation was flawed.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.
To remedy the injustice caused, the Council has agreed to:
- apologise to Mr F and Mrs PGM for the faults we have identified, including the Council’s unfair attempt to blame Mrs PGM;
- pay Mr F £1,000 to acknowledge his distress caused by the Council’s faults;
- pay Mrs PGM £1,000 to acknowledge her distress caused by the Council’s faults;
- pay Mr F £1,500 for B’s benefit to acknowledge the Council’s failure to protect B from harm; and
- pay Mr F £500 for G’s benefit for disregarding the Court Order in respect of contact between G and Ms M following G’s disclosure.
The Council should also make a referral to the East Riding Safeguarding Children Board Serious Case Review Panel (or its successor organisation when new safeguarding partner arrangements are in place). The Panel has a statutory duty to undertake a serious case review when a child has been seriously harmed and there is cause for concern about the Council’s handling of the case.
Ombudsman satsfied with Council's response: 21 March 2019.