London Borough of Sutton (18 007 655)

Category : Children's care services > Looked after children

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 23 Oct 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Miss B complained about the Council’s decision on her complaint about children’s services, including the level of compensation. Before we could investigate the Council increased its offer to £2500 and Miss B was happy to accept this.

The complaint

  1. Miss B complained that the London Borough of Sutton (the Council), in respect of her stage two complaint regarding her involvement with the Council’s children’s services from the age of 15:
    • failed to take responsibility for the identified failings and the significant impact on her life – she was sexually exploited, missed out on education and moved six times in two years;
    • failed to provide adequate leaving care support;
    • failed to provide documents made under a freedom of information request within a timely manner; and
    • refused to consider her complaint at stage three of the statutory complaints procedure.

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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. If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the complaint and the documents provided by the complainant and I have spoken to her.
  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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What I found

  1. Miss B complained to the Ombudsman earlier this year about the Council’s refusal to consider her complaint through the statutory children’s services complaints procedure. Following our intervention, the Council agreed to put the complaint through the complaints procedure.
  2. Miss B contacted us again expressing dissatisfaction with the outcome of the complaints process including the level of compensation and a refusal to consider the complaint further at stage three of the procedure.
  3. Before I could make enquiries, the Council and Miss B informed me that they had agreed a satisfactory remedy of £2500.

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Final decision

  1. I have completed my investigation as the Council has taken suitable action to put matters right and Miss B is satisfied with the outcome.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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