Summary: The complainant, Ms X, complained that the Council delayed in issuing her grandson’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and it failed to provide alternative education for him when he was unable to attend his primary school.
The Ombudsman has upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.
We recommend that, within three months of the date of this report, the Council should, and it agrees to do so:
- apologise to Ms X for the faults which we have highlighted;
- pay Ms X £1000 for the additional pressures placed on her by the Council’s faults and £250 for her time and trouble in pursuing this matter; and
- pay to Ms X for Child B’s educational benefit £1,800 for three months he has been without education. It will be for Ms X to decide how best to use these monies.
In respect of procedural improvements, we recommend that, within six months of the date of this report, the Council should, and it agrees to do so:
- review its alternative education policy, paying particular attention to how it should decide whether its duty is triggered, taking account of the statutory guidance. The review of the policy should be ratified by the Council’s relevant Committee, responsible for the oversight of educational provision in its area; and
- review cases of pupils out of school referred to it, either for medical reasons or missing from education, since April 2019 to the start of the first national lockdown (March 2020) to ensure that the faults in this case have not occurred in these other cases and tell us, if they have, how it intends to remedy the resulting injustice.
- The Council has accepted our recommendations.
Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 12 October 2021.