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Royal Borough of Greenwich (21 015 281)

Category : Children's care services > Fostering

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 19 Apr 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Council is at fault for delaying paying savings to two children previously in care. The Council has agreed to make payments to the complainant for the time and trouble its delays have caused and to the children for the frustration caused.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will call Mrs X, complains that the Council delayed paying savings to her two foster children, after they left care.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. If there has been fault which has caused an injustice, we may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), as amended)
  2. Under the information sharing agreement between the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), we will share this decision with Ofsted.

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
  3. The complainant now has an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I will consider their comments before making a final decision.

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My assessment

What happened

  1. In May 2021, Mrs X complained to the Council that her two foster children were owed money saved while they were in care. The Council responded to Mrs X complaint and provided a further update in September 2021. The Council explained that it had been in contact with a fostering agency to try to locate the savings.
  2. In November, the Council wrote to Mrs X and said that it had identified that the Council had been given two cheques by the fostering agency for the children in 2013, but they had not been processed as they were in the children’s names and not the Council’s. The Council therefore asked the fostering agency to resend the cheques in the Council’s name. After no progress was made, Mrs X contacted the Ombudsman.
  3. The Council has said that it has recently received the money from the fostering agency and has contacted Mrs X to get up to date contact details of the children. It says once this information is received, it will pay the children the savings they are owed.


  1. There are times when the Council has been proactive in resolving the issue. However, there has also been some significant delay in resolving the issue, with periods where the Council has not provided Mrs X with an update. This has caused Mrs X some significant time and trouble and has meant the two children have been without their savings for longer, which is likely to have caused them some frustration.

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Agreed action

  1. Within 1 month of the date of my final decision, the Council has agreed that it will:
    • Offer to make a payment of £100 to Mrs X to remedy the time and trouble she went to perusing her complaint.
    • Offer to make a payment of £50 to each of the children to reflect the frustration its delay in paying them their savings has caused.

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Final decision

  1. We uphold this complaint with a finding of fault causing an injustice.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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