Councillors considered wrong Ombudsman report

Councillors in West Sussex have been asked to revisit an Ombudsman’s decision, after they considered the wrong version of a critical report at a council meeting.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman issued an investigation report about the way the council handled a complaint about the education it provided to a girl who was out of school.

In that report, the Ombudsman made several recommendations to improve the council’s services. These included an apology to the girl’s mother, a financial remedy to recognise the lost educational opportunity, and a reminder to staff about their duty to provide alternative education.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:

“When we draft a report we give both the people who complain to us and the local authority the opportunity to comment on it and provide us with any further supporting evidence they feel is important. The final report we issue will have considered this extra evidence, and can be different to the draft report.

“Unfortunately, in this case, rather than discussing the final report, councillors were presented with the draft, and they declined to comply with its recommendations.

“We are now asking councillors in West Sussex to discuss the correct, final version of the report and make the necessary arrangements to comply with the recommendations it included.”

Article date: 07 June 2019