Lancashire County Council (17 017 603)

Category : Children's care services > Looked after children

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 27 Mar 2019

Summary: Mr B complains the Council has failed to put in place the remedy it agreed to, following his previous complaint to us. Mr B’s original complaint was that the Council had failed to provide help and support for his niece and nephew (V and W) for whom he and his wife hold a Special Guardianship Order (SGO). He said that after the SGO was granted, the Council failed to assess their needs or provide additional support.

Our decision on Mr B’s previous complaint identified 11 points of remedy for the Council to put in place. Once our decision was made, we would expect the family’s needs to be considered holistically and future needs anticipated. In this case, V was turning 18 and was moving into adult social care. Mr B also complained the Council was not communicating with him properly in relation to the remedy for the original complaint.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice. 

Recommendations

Within three months of the date of this report we recommend the Council completes the following:

Generally:

  • changes its procedures to ensure it keeps complainants informed of the progress of implementing outcomes from their complaints and reviews those procedures for effectiveness.

For Mr and Mrs B:

  • conducts a training needs analysis and schedules identified training;
  • pays any backdated respite for V, that has not been taken;
  • pays £300 for the distress caused by the Council’s delay in deciding to conduct a new assessment on the family, the delay setting up the assessment and the delay identifying what support it  would provide to the family as a result. It should also apologise for the lack of explanation on how the amount the family would be paid was calculated and take steps to provide an explanation immediately;
  • pays £100 for time and trouble caused by asking for receipts for expenditure from 2014;
  • backdates (to October 2016) the allowances owed and considers what financial support the Council should provide now W is the only child in the household given the October 2016 and February 2018 reports on the family. It is asked to backdate these from when V left home;
  • considers, with the council where the family currently live (the home council), what support Mr and Mrs B will need to provide respite and accommodation for V over the holidays if this is to be the arrangement going forward;
  • apologises for its failure to provide V with support prior to her turning eighteen, which caused Mr and Mrs B distress; and
  • writes to Mr and Mrs B, jointly with the home council, setting out how the family will be supported through issuing an amended SGO Support Plan.

For W:

  • identifies an appropriate respite placement and pays the family £250 each month until it does; and,
  • makes up for the respite provision missed.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 20 September 2019.

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