Northumberland Council (15 020 820)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 21 Sep 2017


Mr and Mrs X complain the council took too long to investigate their complaint about how it dealt with their family.

The complaint

Mr and Mrs X complaint he council did not do enough to protect their younger children from the violent and threatening behaviour of their eldest son, Y. They say they have been left with a great deal of uncertainty about the effect of Y's behaviour on the younger children.

They say the family was caused a great deal of distress as a result of Y being removed from their house by the police and this could have been prevented if the council had acted sooner.


The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.


The Council should take the following action in order to remedy the injustice caused to the family as a result of the fault:

  • pay Mr and Mrs X and their children £1,000 to cover their time and trouble pursuing the complaint as well as the uncertainty, distress and anxiety caused by the Council’s failure to carry out an investigation into the children’s welfare;
  • ensure a copy of the Independent Investigator’s stage 2 report, our report and information it obtained about Y in November 2014 are kept on the other children’s files in the event that further information comes to light in future;
  • provide us with details of measures it has put in place to ensure it meets statutory timescales for investigating children’s services complaints;
  • carry out a review to ensure relevant staff and contractors (e.g. independent investigators and independent people) have undertaken up to date training on dealing with children’s services complaints to ensure the voice of the child is heard.

The Council must consider this report and confirm within three months the action it has taken or proposes to take. The Council should consider the report at its full cabinet or committee and we will ask for evidence of this.(Local Government Act 1974, section 31(2), as amended)

Ombudsman satisfied with council's response: 26 January 2018.

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