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Sheffield City Council (20 012 533)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 24 May 2022

Overview:

Key to names used

  • Mrs B The complainant
  • Ms C Her daughter

Summary

Mrs B complained the Council failed to provide appropriate support to meet her daughter’s (Ms C’s) care and support needs following problems with her care provider. The Council delayed completing a safeguarding investigation into concerns about the care provision, and victim blamed Ms C in the outcome of the safeguarding investigation. The Council produced an action plan which it failed to follow, which further compounded the distress to Mrs B and Ms C and allowed poor service to continue for many years. Because of the problems with care services, and lack of appropriate support, Ms C could not attend college due to her anxiety and depression. The Council failed to properly review her Education, Health and Care plan between 2016 and 2021. It did not provide her with education from September 2017 to 2021, as it failed to consider alternative provision.

Finding

Fault found causing injustice and recommendations made.

Recommendations

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

In addition to the requirement above and the actions it is already taking, to acknowledge the significant impact on Ms C and Mrs B, we recommend the Council:

  • refund £605.12 which Ms C wrongly paid towards her care support, plus interest on this amount based on the retail price index;

  • pay both Mrs B and Ms C £1,500 each to recognise their distress, and the time and trouble Mrs B has had trying to get the Council to put things right over many years;

  • pay Ms C £500 a month for every month where the Council failed to provide her with education, from September 2017 until the current provision was put in place;

  • consider any discretion to provide educational support to Ms C beyond the age of 25, to support her completing any course she is undertaking. Write to Ms C to explain what it has decided in terms of post-25 support and its reasoning. If the Council cannot provide this from its education budget, perhaps it can from its adult social care budget; and

  • provide us with evidence of the actions it has taken to improve its services following the learning from this complaint.

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