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Royal Borough of Greenwich (21 018 710)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 02 May 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council failing to provide Occupational Therapy provision. This is because the Council has provided a remedy and we would not obtain a significantly different outcome for Mr X if we investigated.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, Mr X, complained about the Council’s failure to provide the Occupational Therapy (OT) provision as required by his son’s Education Health and Care plan (EHCP).

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide:
  • we could not add to any previous investigation by the organisation, or
  • further investigation would not lead to a different outcome, or
  • we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
  3. Mr X has had the opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I considered any comments received before making my final decision.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X told us his son has been without the OT provision required by his EHCP for at least the entire Autumn term 2021. He said the loss of provision was ongoing. He said because of this, the school have been unable to start his son’s touch typing intervention. The required review of this intervention was missed and termly reviews not performed.
  2. The Council considered Mr X’s complaint and upheld it. But it said it is not in a position to monitor each ECHP other than through the annual review process. So, if provision is not being delivered, it needs to be made aware promptly. The Council said the OT service had advised a new occupational therapist had been appointed. The Council offered financial reimbursement for the OT provision set out in the EHCP if Mr X had purchased this privately and a payment for the lost OT provision. It said, now officers are aware of Mr X’s concerns, they are working with the school to ensure intervention is in place. The Council apologised for the delay. It said it is constantly reviewing its processes and making changes where required. New OT visits were scheduled for the Spring term 2022.
  3. The Council has offered a remedy to Mr X. But Mr X told us the Council has delayed providing him the payment. He said the Council’s delay is fault. The Council has provided us with evidence of the payment. It paid Mr X towards the end of April 2022. This is within the usual timeframe we would expect. Our general approach to remedies is they should put the person affected back in the position they would have been in had nothing gone wrong. That is the approach the Council has taken. Mr X is also seeking a financial payment for time and trouble in pursuing his complaint. There is inevitably time and trouble involved in bringing a complaint. But the approach we take is this only generally requires a remedy when there has been fault in the way the Council considered the complaint, which meant the complainant incurred time and trouble above what is considered usual. That is not the case here. The Council has offered a remedy which is line with our general approach so we would not obtain a significantly different outcome for Mr X if we investigated his complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because the Council has provided a remedy and we would not obtain a significantly different outcome for Mr X if we investigated.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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