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Leeds City Council (08 022 022)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 01 Jul 2011

Summary

Serious and extensive failures in Leeds City Council’s provision of education and care services resulted in substantial injustice for vulnerable children and their parents.

The complaint

The Ombudsman issued reports on three different complaints where her investigations found the Council’s service provision was inadequate. All the complaints involved children with special educational needs.

The complaints involved the actions of both the Council and the children’s schools, and the Ombudsman commented that she could not give a complete and comprehensive account as she only has power to investigate complaints about schools from pupils or their parents in 14 local authority areas, and Leeds was not one of them.

In this complaint, the Ombudsman found that the Council had failed to seek legal advice for a boy when he was arrested and facing a serious criminal charge. Its failure could have serious consequences for his future prospects.

The Ombudsman recommended that the Council take specific action in each case and pay sums of compensation to remedy the identified injustice to the parents and foster parents who complained.

When an investigation identifies serious failings, the Ombudsman normally recommends that a council should undertake a thorough review of the way a service is organised and delivered. But she recognises that the Council has reviewed and reorganised its education and children’s service and therefore does not recommend further review.

She said: “I recognise that the Council has taken significant steps… to improve the personal education plans for looked after children and statements of special education needs”, and that she is aware of the Council’s major reorganisation of education and children’s services that has brought them together in a unified management structure that should be fully implemented by the end of 2011 to provide a single integrated service for the most challenged families.

 

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