Stockport NHS Foundation Trust (17 005 176b)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 21 Sep 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsmen’s investigation has been restricted in its scope for jurisdictional reasons. The Ombudsmen do not find fault in the Council’s actions beyond a failure to provide suitable education to a child with Autism for four weeks, but this caused limited injustice. The Ombudsmen do not find fault in the actions of both the Trusts involved in this case.

The complaint

  1. Mrs X complained about the actions of the Council (in particular its Special Educational Needs and Children’s Services departments) in relation to her son, B’s special educational needs, school attendance and difficulties in accessing education whilst he was on roll at Y Primary School.
  2. Mrs X complained about a lack of appropriate support for B from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust’s CAMHS team.
  3. Mrs X complained the Occupational Therapy service, delivered by Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, inappropriately discharged B from its service.
  4. Mrs X says the alleged failings by the Council have had a significant impact on B and on his family, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety and additional financial costs in seeking professional reports.

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What I have investigated

  1. I have investigated the elements of Mrs X’s complaint which are not outside the Ombudsmen’s jurisdiction because of an alternative right of appeal, in this case to the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability). Case law has also set out that where an appeal has taken place, we cannot investigate a council’s decision not to provide alternative education pending the appeal, or seek a remedy for such failures. This applies from the date the SEN appeal right arises until the appeal is completed.
  2. I have investigated Mrs X’s complaints from November 2015, when the Council issued the final Education, Health and Care Plan for B, following an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal of the EHC Plan issued in May 2015. Aspects of the complaint before that date are outside the Ombudsmen’s jurisdiction for the reasons given above.

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The Ombudsmen’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsmen have the power to jointly consider complaints about health and social care. Since April 2015, these complaints have been considered by a single team acting on behalf of both Ombudsmen. (Local Government Act 1974, section 33ZA,as amended, and Health Service Commissioners Act 1993, section 18ZA)
  2. The Ombudsmen investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. We use the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. If there has been fault, the Ombudsmen consider whether it has caused injustice or hardship (Health Service Commissioners Act 1993, section 3(1) and Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), as amended).
  3. If it has, they may suggest a remedy. Our recommendations might include asking the organisation to apologise or to pay a financial remedy, for example, for inconvenience or worry caused.  We might also recommend the organisation takes action to stop the same mistakes happening again.
  4. The Ombudsmen may investigate, and question the merits of, action taken in the exercise of clinical judgement.
  5. If the Ombudsmen are satisfied with the actions or proposed actions of the bodies that are the subject of the complaint, they can complete their investigation and issue a decision statement. (Health Service Commissioners Act 1993, section 18ZA and Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have spoken with Mrs X and considered written information from her.
  2. I have considered case records from the Council, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.
  3. I have considered:
    • The Local Government Act 1974 and the Health Service Commissioner’s Act 1993;
    • The Education Act 1996;
    • Statutory Guidance, ‘Alternative Provision’ 2013 and ‘Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health’ 2013;
    • National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance ‘Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management’, Clinical guideline, (August 2013);
    • NICE Clinical Guidance 159 ‘Social anxiety disorder: recognition, assessment and treatment’ (May 2013)
  4. I have written to Mrs X, the Council and the Trusts with my draft decision and given them an opportunity to comment.
  5. 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. B received a diagnosis of Autism in 2014. He attended Y Primary School, a mainstream school. Mrs X’s preferred school place was in a specialist resource base attached to Z Primary School for 14 children with complex needs. This had small classes and children spent most of their time in the resource base, accessing mainstream with support on a gradually increasing basis.
  2. Mrs X appealed the Council’s decision on school placement in B’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) in April 2015.The First Tier Tribunal decision in November 2015 did not state that B needed a place at Z School’s resource. The EHC Plan from November 2015 provided him with 20 hours of support in mainstream, including sensory support through an Occupational Therapy plan and speech and language inputs.
  3. A review held in December 2015 reported some progress for B. He was less anxious in school and at home and was making some academic progress already, after just a few weeks of the new provision. Mrs X stated she still wanted a place for B at Z School Resource and that Y School could not meet his needs and caused him considerable anxiety.
  4. The Council based its decision not to alter the EHC Plan on the reports from an Educational Psychologist, Occupational Therapy and the Speech and Language Team. These reports, directed from the Tribunal, said B could be supported appropriately in mainstream school.
  5. Mrs X then asked for changes to better specify the provision in the EHC Plan and that it should name her preferred school, Z School, which had a specialist Resource. The Council negotiated changes with Mrs X but she again took the school named in the EHC Plan to the First Tier Tribunal in May 2016.
  6. At the end of March 2016 Mrs X removed B from school. She said he had become so anxious that it was impossible to get him to school each day. His GP provided a sick note for B for a month, which was reissued each month thereafter, on occasions without seeing B himself.
  7. The School provided work for B to do at home and the Council provided sensory Occupational Therapy support and speech and language inputs in the home from September 2016, when Home hospital teaching started for B. However, at the end of September Mrs X asked the tutoring to stop as it was causing B distress.
  8. Following professional discussions, the Educational Psychologist considered a smaller setting would now be in B’s best interests, given the length of time he had been out of school. The Council offered Mrs X another resource option, which had a place available immediately, which she declined, maintaining her wish for Z School Resource.
  9. In December 2016 the Council offered Mrs X a place at Z School Resource with effect from September 2017 and Mrs X withdrew her appeal. The Council named the placement in B’s EHC Plan in February 2017. A place became available in April, and B started a very slow reintegration to school of a few hours a week.
  10. Mrs X complained to the Council about these events. It issued its Stage 2 final response in August 2017. Mrs X then brought her complaints to the Ombudsmen.

The legal background

  1. 26(6)a of the Local Government Act 1974 and 4(1)a of the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 say the Ombudsmen shall not conduct an investigation of any action for which the complainant has or had a right of appeal to a tribunal where the complainant has exercised that right.
  2. Case law in 2014, R (on the application of ER) v Commissioner for Local Administration (Local Government Ombudsman, determined that the Ombudsmen have no jurisdiction where a parent has appealed to the SEN Tribunal from the date the SEN appeal right arises until the appeal is completed. Any loss of education or possible fault during this period cannot be investigated, even though this means any injustice will not be remedied.
  3. S19 of the Education Act 1996 provide Councils with a duty to provide children out of school for reasons of exclusion, illness or otherwise with suitable education.
  4. Related statutory Guidance, ‘Alternative Provision’ 2013 and ‘Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health’ 2013 (Ensuring a good education) set out how Council’s should fulfil this duty.
  5. ‘Ensuring a good education’ says the Council should liaise with appropriate medical professionals to ensure minimal delay in arranging appropriate provision for a child.
  6. The Council should address the needs of individual children and avoid ‘hard and fast’ rules that might limit the offer of suitable education.
  7. While there is no statutory point at which the Council takes on the duty to provide suitable alternative education there should be minimal delay. Generally, councils should be ready to take on responsibility for a child whose illness will prevent them from attending school for more than 15 days.
  8. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance ‘Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management’, Clinical guideline, (August 2013) sets out the standards expected of clinicians in this respect. Relevant to this case is 1.7.2: “Consider the following for children and young people with autism and anxiety who have the verbal and cognitive ability to engage in a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) intervention:
  • group CBT adjusted to the needs of children and young people with autism
  • individual CBT for children and young people who find group-based activities difficult.”
  1. The NICE Clinical Guidance 159 ‘Social anxiety disorder: recognition, assessment and treatment’ (May 2013) says at 1.5.3 about Treatment for children and young people with social anxiety disorder: ‘Offer individual or group CBT focused on social anxiety (see recommendations 1.5.4 and 1.5.5) to children and young people with social anxiety disorder. Consider involving parents or carers to ensure the effective delivery of the intervention, particularly in young children’.
  2. 1.5.4 says of delivering psychological interventions for children, amongst other things” psychoeducation and skills training for parents, particularly of young children, to promote and reinforce the child's exposure to feared or avoided social situations and development of skills.”

Jurisdictional limitations on the investigation

  1. Significant elements of Mrs X’s complaint are outside the Ombudsmen’s jurisdiction and so I have not investigated them. These include:
    • Failure to provide a suitable school - this was appealable/appealed to the Tribunal under Part I of the EHC Plan;
    • Failure to put in support at school outside that which was specified in B’s EHC Plan:
      1. support at school relates to the internal management of the school (IMS) which is outside the Ombudsmen’s jurisdiction and
      2. the suitability of support set out in the EHC Plan would be appealable to the Tribunal; it is not for the Ombudsmen to determine;
    • Failure to provide adequate reports for the EHC Plan - was considered at Tribunal in looking at the suitability of the school and provision in the EHC Plan;
    • Failure by the school to respond appropriately to parental concerns (IMS);
    • Delay in agreeing a statutory assessment - the refusal to assess decision was appealed to the Tribunal;
    • Delay in providing a sufficient EHC Plan - the suitability of provision was appealed to the Tribunal;
    • Bullying and intimidation tactics by school; (IMS)
    • Spoken to in a disrespectful manner by some staff at the school (IMS).
  2. Other aspects of the complaint are affected by these jurisdictional limitations, specifically:
      1. Failure to ensure support for B as set out in his EHC Plan from 2 November 2015, when the EHC Plan was finalised after the Tribunal decision;
      2. Delay in ensuring the provision set out in the EHC Plan was provided
      3. Failure to put in suitable support for B and the family while he was out of school; and
      4. Delay in providing B with suitable alternative education when he was out of school.
  3. I therefore have not investigated the Council’s actions or those of the Trusts on these specific matters for the period May to December 2016, as I cannot look at anything during that period of Mrs X’s appeal to the Tribunal.
  4. Mrs X’s remaining points of complaint that I have investigated are as follows:
  5. e) Failure to respond to parents’ concerns about B’s educational needs and presentation;
  6. f) Bullying and intimidatory tactics towards B's parents (excluding the Tribunal process); and
  7. g) Disrespectful tone in its conversations with B's parents;
  8. I have investigated Mrs X’s complaints against the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust as:

h) the lack of support from CAMHS; and

i) its refusal to refer B to a psychiatrist when he had a breakdown.

  1. I have investigated Mrs X’s complaint against the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust as:
      1. Inappropriate discharge from the Occupational Therapy Service.

Analysis – the Council’s actions

  1. Mrs X complained the Council:

a) Failed to ensure support for B as set out in his EHC Plan from 2 November 2015, when the EHC Plan was finalised after the Tribunal decision;

  1. The outcome of this Tribunal required the Council to arrange further Educational Psychology, Occupational Therapy (OT) and Speech and Language (SALT) reports on B. The Tribunal did not say B required a specialist placement.
  2. A review of B’s provision was held in early December 2015. This reported that the new provision had started and B had begun to show a reduction in his levels of anxiety, both at school and at home.
  3. The reports directed by the Tribunal had been prepared and recommended a range of support for B in each area of expertise. The Educational Psychology report also suggested B would benefit from his parents having support at home to manage his distress about school in the mornings. This report also said there needed to be a strong relationship between parents and school, in which school shared B’s progress and positive steps with parents regularly, so they would gain trust in the school’s support for B.
  4. The OT report set out sensory needs and strategies and advice for parents to help with B’s self-help skills. It also set out that the OT service would discharge B as there was now support through his EHC Plan and after a trial with weighted equipment.
  5. The SALT report indicated B was making steady progress with his speech and language.
  6. There is evidence in the professional reports at the December 2015 review that B was making some progress from November 2015 under the provision agreed by the Tribunal. B needed time to benefit from these strategies and support from his parents for the school’s actions.
  7. There is no evidence available of how B was managing during the Spring term of 2016 other than Mrs X reporting he remained very distressed before going to school and at other times. There is no reason to assume B was getting anything other than the support set out in his EHC Plan at that time and that, as before he was making some progress.
  8. Mrs X removed B from school at the end of March due to high levels of anxiety she said were caused by school.
  9. I consider B received the support set out in his EHC Plan from November 2015 to March 2016. He was benefiting from that support in December 2015 and I have seen no evidence that the support changed up until Mrs X removed B from school. I consider suitable support was provided to B during this period.
  10. Once B was removed from school, specific provision in the EHC Plan for the school to deliver could not take place. However, the school sent home work which it says was not returned. The Council put in support from its Autism team in May 2016 and family support over the summer.
  11. I cannot investigate the Council’s actions beyond May 2016 when Mrs X lodged her appeal to Tribunal, until December 2016.
  12. The Council had put in place home education from September 2016 which Mrs X ended at the end of September. The Council then put in place a tutor for B at home pending the outcome of the Tribunal. This continued alongside OT and SALT support at home until B started at Z School Resource in April 2017. The Council continued the SALT and OT support beyond the start of the new school to July 2017, as B found re-integration hard and attended part-time for a long period.
  13. B received sufficient education in line with legal requirements. Mrs X removed B both from a school and provision considered suitable in March 2016 and from hospital home education that was meeting B’s needs in September 2016.
  14. I therefore do not find fault in the Council’s actions on this point of the complaint.

b) Delayed in ensuring the provision set out in the EHC Plan was provided

  1. The Tribunal reached its decision in November 2015 that B was suitably placed at Y School but there should be updated reports for his support.
  2. The school held a review of the provision in early December 2015, not a statutory requirement but good practice. That review included the updated reports required from the Tribunal and the school stated it was implementing the recommendations from these, as required.
  3. The Council changed the EHC Plan in negotiation with Mrs X to include more detail specifically on the sensory and speech and language support proposed from the updated reports. Until this was finalised in April 2016 the existing EHC Plan provided the legal basis of the provision for B.
  4. I therefore do not find fault in the Council’s actions on this point of complaint.

c) Failed to put in suitable support for B and the family while he was out of school

  1. Mrs X removed B from school at the end of March 2016 because she said he was suffering significant anxiety attending school. The Tribunal’s view and all professional opinion at that time and until later in 2016 was that B could manage and make progress in Y School with the support agreed in his EHC Plan.
  2. B’s GP signed B off sick. B was referred quickly to CAMHS who assessed him in May. This assessment provided a recommendation to support B and Mrs X’s anxieties: this was that B should return to school and be supported through parental strategies to gradually manage and overcome his fears. CAMHS did not consider B would benefit from 1:1 CAMHS support; it advised support for a child B’s age would be most effective coming through parents. It offered Mrs X a group support for parents with anxious children. Mrs X declined this offer. I have addressed the CAMHS decisions separately below.
  3. The Council’s Autism Team visited the family in April 2016. It noted Mrs X herself was too anxious to become involved in any group training. The assessment recommended a Family Support Worker to provide Mrs X with 1:1 training on autism, to work with B on his anxiety and to liaise with school to create a support plan to allow B to return to school in time.
  4. The school arranged a Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting in June due to concerns B was still signed off sick. This meeting involved all professionals involved with B (health, CAMHS, school staff, Autism Team and SALT), his parents and additionally a social worker linked to the school.
  5. While the Autism Team had visited further and suggested strategies that the family were starting to use, there is no evidence that at that stage a Family Support Worker had been involved with the family.
  6. Over the summer the Council provided to the family through Stockport Family, a co-ordinated service from the Council to support families and children with difficulties. The team visited the family and encouraged them to visit alternative school provision to their preferred Z School Resource.
  7. I cannot specifically investigate the support for B and the family between May and December 2016 for reasons already explained.
  8. I do not find fault in the Council’s actions from March to May 2016. It provided specialist Autism input soon after Mrs X took B out of school. That recommended family support which the Council provided over the summer. However, I cannot comment on the period from May to December due to limits on our jurisdiction.
  9. In October there was a further TAC meeting which parents did not attend. They stated they felt intimidated, bullied and victimised at the previous meeting in June.
  10. The resultant professionals’ meeting records that school had visited B at home but did not receive a positive response from parents. The Autism Team had held four sessions with B, with positive engagement. CAMHS had offered the course for parenting anxious children which Mrs X had declined.
  11. Professionals were concerned that despite these inputs parents remained unchanged in their views that Z School Resource was the only suitable educational placement for B.
  12. A further Educational Psychology assessment recommended that B would now need more specialist provision because he had been out of education for a long period, which had not resolved his anxiety and may have increased it. The Council therefore offered Mrs X a place for B at an alternative specialist Resource immediately. Parents declined this, choosing to await a place in September 2017 at Z School Resource.
  13. From December 2016 the Council continued to provide a tutor for B’s education and OT and SALT therapeutic inputs. The Council ended its social care involvement in December 2016 with Mrs X’s agreement.
  14. I therefore do not find fault in the Council’s actions between December 2016 and April 2017 when B started his re-integration into education at Z School.

d) Delay in providing B with suitable alternative education when he was out of school

  1. B was out of school from the end of March 2016. The Council had a duty to provide alternative education under s19 of the Education Act 1996 for a child who due to illness could not attend school.
  2. There should be no delay in making such alternative provision; the Ombudsmen would say straightforward provision should be in place within no more than four weeks.
  3. In this case Y School sent home work for B to complete but says it was never returned. B was out of school from the first week of April, therefore I would expect the Council to have in place suitable provision from the start of May 2016.
  4. In evidence provided in response to my enquiries the Council required Mrs X to get a referral from her GP to CAMHS to allow the Council’s hospital/home education service to get involved.
  5. This is not in line with statutory Guidance. ‘Ensuring a good education’ says the Council should liaise with appropriate medical professionals to ensure minimal delay in arranging appropriate provision for a child.
  6. I therefore find fault in the Council’s reliance on Mrs X to ask her GP to make the referral to CAMHS.
  7. The Council was aware in late April 2016 that B had a further sick note and so was off school well beyond the 15 days at which the Council should take responsibility. It was not acceptable for the Council to rely on the school sending work home form that point and there is no evidence the Council was taking any steps to secure alternative education at that point.
  8. I therefore find fault in the Council’s lack of action to secure B suitable alternative education from the end of April 2016.
  9. However, because I am not able to investigate beyond the end of May 2016, any injustice to B of that lack of provision that I can remedy is limited to four weeks.
  10. The Council offered Mrs X an alternative provision similar to Z School Resource in December 2016, however parents declined the offer, maintaining their preference for Z School Resource.
  11. B received regular tutoring in line with his capacity to manage education at that time from January 2017. The Council says there was a delay in securing the tutors after the end of the Tribunal process in December 2016.
  12. I therefore do not find fault in the Council’s actions in the period from December 2016 until April 2017 when B returned to school.

e) Failure to respond to parents’ concerns about B’s educational needs and presentation;

  1. The Council had professional reports that had different views on B at school. It was appropriate for the Council to rely on this for his educational provision.
  2. The Council accepted B presented differently at home; it put in ASD support and recommended parents access ASD groups socially for B. Professionals’ recommendations were for parents to get help with own their own anxieties around B’s behaviours and this was in line with clinical advice relevant at that time. It was Mr and Mrs X’s decision not to access that support or follow that advice.
  3. I therefore do not find fault in the Council’s actions on this point of the complaint.

f) Bullying and intimidatory tactics towards B's parents (excluding the Tribunal process);

  1. Mrs X says the Team around the Child (TAC) meeting held in June 2016 was very intimidating and they felt bullied by the social worker present in particular.
  2. The TAC meeting was attended by all the professionals involved in the case, which totalled 14. I can therefore understand Mr and Mrs X may have found that setting quite intimidating in itself. However, it was important that all those involved with B were present to discuss the difficulties he faced in attending school.
  3. The social worker was linked to the school. Her role would be to ensure there were no safeguarding concerns around a child who was not attending school, and where the GP and school staff who visited the home had not been able to see B in person.
  4. There were genuine and legitimate concerns that no professional had seen B and that parents’ own anxieties were making B’s anxiety worse. The strategies CAMHS had proposed were designed to help B return to school and build up his resilience to his anxiety and independence skills in small steps.
  5. From the record of the meeting I do not see any evidence of bullying or intimidation from the professionals, merely concern that Mr and Mrs X would not agree or co-operate with the recommended steps forward. I have no audio record so I cannot comment further on the tone of the meeting.
  6. I therefore do not find fault in the Council’s actions on this point of the complaint.

g) Disrespectful tone in its conversations with B's parents.

  1. I have considered email correspondence and letters between Mrs X and the Council outside the Tribunal appeal process. I have no evidence of telephone conversations or of meetings Mrs X attended beyond the written records of those meetings.
  2. There is no evidence of the Council being disrespectful to Mrs X in these communications. I am not able to comment on any verbal exchanges as I have no independent evidence of what took place.

Analysis – Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust’s actions - CAMHS

  1. Mrs X complained about a lack of appropriate support for B from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust’s CAMHS team.
  2. CAMHS knew of B before 2015 as it had provided the diagnosis of Autism in 2014. B was referred back to CAMHS in April 2016 by a paediatrician after Mrs X withdrew him from school. CAMHS assessed B again and reached the view that he would be best supported by returning to school with suitable support, especially from his parents. CAMHS view was that, while B was out of school his anxieties about school could not be overcome effectively and would as a result come to dominate his daily life, causing a deterioration in his mental health.
  3. CAMHS’ views were in line with those of other professionals including Educational Psychology.
  4. CAMHS recommended parents to attend a course for parenting anxious children, to help them provide B with the support to overcome his fears about school. They declined this offer, as Mrs X herself felt too anxious to leave the family home and attend group sessions.
  5. Mrs X asked CAMHS for some direct 1:1 support for B. CAMHS’ clinical view was that B was too young for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to be effective, the appropriate treatment for anxiety. It has explained the basis for this clinical decision lies within the national clinical guidance and also evidenced other research that supports this approach. Research into the effectiveness of CBT on children in 2004 found that CBT was useful in in treating anxiety in children over the age of six, but little was known about the effectiveness for younger children. (British Journal of Clinical Psychology (2004), 43, 421-436)
  6. The focus of interventions set out in the research was to give parents of young children the skills to support their anxious child themselves, using CBT techniques, rather than provide CBT direct to the child.
  7. I am satisfied that CAMHS followed current and appropriate clinical guidance in reaching its decision not to provide B with CBT. I understand Mrs X disagrees with this view, however CAMHS followed the guidance relevant at that time.
  8. I therefore do not find fault in CAMHS’ or the Trust’s actions.

Analysis – Stockport NHS Foundation Trust’s actions – Occupational Therapy (OT)

  1. Mrs X complained the Occupational Therapy service, delivered by Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, inappropriately discharged B from its service.
  2. The OT service assessed B in November 2015 and provided detailed advice on strategies to support B’s fine and gross motor skills, plus set out a programme of activities to be carried out at home and at school. In early 2016 it also loaned Mrs X weighted equipment for B to use.
  3. The OT assessment stated that, once the programme was in place and the effect of weighted equipment had been reviewed alongside the programme, it would discharge B from the central Trust service as there was support at a local level through the school’s OT.
  4. The OT records state that B was finally discharged from all OT services on 16 February 2018. The Council has confirmed B received OT inputs while he was out of school.
  5. There is no evidence therefore that B was discharged from OT support as Mrs X claims. I therefore do not uphold this point of complaint or find fault in the Trust’s actions.

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Recommendations

  1. I recommend the Council should:
    • apologise to Mrs X for the loss of four weeks of education for B in May 2016; and
    • pay Mrs X £370 for that loss, to be used specifically for B’s education in a way to be agreed between Mrs X and the Council.
  2. The Council should complete the apology within one month of my final decision and make and agree the use of the payment within two months of my final decision.
  3. I recommend the Council reviews its processes around children out of school for health reasons to ensure it complies with statutory guidance, avoids restrictive policies and takes necessary steps to secure professional and medical advice in a timely way.
  4. The Council should provide evidence to the Ombudsmen of this review and its outcomes and resultant actions within three months of my final decision.
  5. The Council has agreed these recommendations in full.

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Final decision

  1. Of the elements of Mrs X’s complaint I have been able to investigate:
    • I have found fault in the Council’s actions only in respect of a loss of education for B for four weeks in May 2016;
    • I have not found fault in its actions in respect of the other points of Mrs X’s complaint I have investigated;
    • I have not found fault in the actions of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust's CAMHS service; and
    • I have not found fault in the actions of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust's Occupational Therapy service.
  2. I therefore have completed my investigation.

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Parts of the complaint that I did not investigate

  1. I have not investigated educational provision for B between the dates Mrs X lodged an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal in May 2016 and the date she withdrew her appeal in December 2016 or any other matters inextricably linked to the provision or placement which was appealed to the Tribunal.
  2. I have not investigated the suitability of support in B’s Education, Health and Care Plan as this was considered by the Tribunal.
  3. I have not investigated any actions of Y School as school are not within the Ombudsmen’s jurisdiction.
  4. I have not investigated the claimed delay in completing a statutory assessment of B’s special educational needs as that took place before November 2015.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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