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Newcastle upon Tyne City Council (19 020 471)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 17 Dec 2020

Summary: Mr X complains about the Council’s handling of a children’s safeguarding enquiry and his subsequent complaint.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

The Council has agreed to:

  • apologise to Mr X in writing for the faults identified; and
  • pay Mr X £1,150 in recognition of the time and trouble, uncertainty, and distress he and his family have been caused.

The Council has already made significant improvements to its service following Mr X’s complaint and the recommendations from the Investigating Officer, Independent Person and stage three panel. This is welcome. The Council should also take the following action to further improve service.

  • Amend the Safety Plan template to ensure signatories understand the agreement is voluntary and to explain any consequences of not following the agreement.
  • Remind relevant staff of the importance of providing parents with all the information needed to make informed decisions and keeping a record of any agreements.
  • Produce a strategy to ensure it meets the timescales for statutory children’s complaints, in particular organising an d holding the stage three panel within 30 days.
  • Provide guidance and training to relevant staff on unconscious bias and the importance of inclusive and diverse public services.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 19 March 2021.

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