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Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (22 001 979)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 20 Jun 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about how the Council completed an educational psychology assessment. That is because there is insufficient evidence of fault.

The complaint

  1. Mrs X complained about how the Council’s Educational Psychologist competed their assessment of her daughter’s, Y’s needs. She said they did not meet Y in person and there was a six-month delay between two on-line meetings.
  2. Mrs X is unhappy about how the Council completed further assessments of her daughters needs in February 2022. She said it did not properly consider her sensory needs before meeting.
  3. Mrs X does not feel Y has had a proper educational psychology assessment. She wants her to have a full assessment to ensure her learning needs are properly met.
  4. Mrs X also complained the Council had failed to make reasonable adjustments to meet her own needs. She said she had asked it not to communicate through email but it continued to do so.

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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:
  • there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating, or
  • any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement.

(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. The complainant had an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I considered their comments before making a final decision.

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My assessment

  1. Mrs X complained to the Council in December 2021 about how it had completed an Educational Psychology assessment for Y. She said the Council had not properly assessed Y for dyslexia and not given her an official diagnosis.
  2. The Council responded to her complaint in January 2022. It provided information about how it assessed for dyslexia. It said it did not use a specific dyslexia assessment tool but used information from education about a young person’s learning. It said the Educational Psychologist had made their assessment using information provided by Y’s school.
  3. Mrs X applied for an Education Health and Care plan (EHC). As part of that assessment process, an Educational Psychologist met with Y in February 2022.
  4. Mrs X asked the Council to consider her complaint at stage two of its process. She said the Council had delayed in arranging a face-to-face assessment and that it had not completed a definitive assessment of her daughter’s needs.
  5. The Council confirmed the Educational Psychologist had enough information to assess Y without a face-to-face assessment. It said that it was completing an assessment of Y’s special educational needs and there were statutory timeframes for the assessment process.
  6. We will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint further. The Council has explained how it assesses dyslexia and confirmed that it does not always complete face-to-face assessments. There is not enough evidence of fault in how the Council completed the initial assessment to justify our investigating.
  7. The Council has completed a further educational psychology assessment in February 2022 as part of the EHC needs assessment process. Therefore, there is also no outstanding injustice.
  8. Although Mrs X is unhappy in how the Council completed that face-to-face assessment, there is nothing to indicate Y experienced an injustice significant enough to justify our involvement.
  9. The Council said Mrs X had not complained to it about it failing to make reasonable adjustments for her. It said it would address this complaint alongside others it is currently considering.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. That is because there is insufficient evidence of fault.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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