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Royal Borough of Greenwich (22 000 840)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 08 May 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint the Council delayed in processing invoices for direct payments. That is because further investigation would not lead to a different outcome.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained the Council delayed in processing invoices for direct payments for his son’s speech and language therapist. He said that contributed to the therapist resigning from her post.
  2. Mr X said the Council’s actions had caused frustration and distress, as well as putting him to the time and trouble in having to complain.
  3. Mr X wants the Council to apologise and pay a financial remedy for the distress caused. He also wants the Council to change the way he receives his son’s personal budget.

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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 further investigation would not lead to a different outcome. (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.

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My assessment

  1. In the Council’s stage two complaint response to Mr X, it apologised for the late payment of invoices and any distress that caused. It offered Mr X £300 in recognition of this. It also acknowledged the late payment of invoices may have contributed to the speech and language therapist resigning.
  2. It said it aimed to pay invoices within four weeks of receiving them and that it was completing a review of its Direct Payments team to increase its efficiency. It offered Mr X the option of using a “Prepaid Card” to manage future payments.
  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint further. The Council has apologised and offered Mr X a remedy in line with our published Guidance on Remedies. It is also reviewing its Direct Payments team and offered Mr X an alternative way of managing his son’s personal budget. There is no outstanding injustice to Mr X and further investigation would not lead to a different outcome. Mr X should contact the Council if he wants to change how he receives his son’s personal budget.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because further investigation would not lead to a different outcome.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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