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Impact of COVID-19 on statistics

To allow authorities to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, we did not accept new complaints and stopped investigating existing cases between March and June 2020. This reduced the number of complaints we received and decided in the 20-21 year. Please consider this when comparing data from previous years.

Essex County Council

Annual statistics ?Find out more about annual statistics

Annual letters

We write to councils each year to give a summary of the complaint statistics we record about them,
and their performance in responding to our investigations.

Annual letter archive

Public reports ?Find out more about public reports

In the last eight years, the Ombudsman has published the following public interest reports against Essex County Council

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found Essex County Council at fault in how it considered two separate women’s Disability Related Expenses (DREs).

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is reminding councils of their duty to monitor and ensure education provided to children educated out of school is suitable, following an investigation into a complaint against Essex County Council.

Social workers moved a vulnerable Essex teen from her aunt and uncle’s care without any warning, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) said.

The clarity of information provided by Essex County Council to parents about a new school transport policy has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) in a report.

In a recent case involving an elderly man, Essex County Council social workers delayed acting on a family’s concerns when they claimed their relative was being exploited by a younger female friend.

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Public reports for Essex County Council

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Service improvements ?Find out more about service improvements

Since April 2018, the Council has agreed to make the following improvements to its services following an Ombudsman investigation. We list up to 10 cases below – click ‘view all’ if there are more.

Case reference: 20 006 658

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: COVID-19

  • The Council has reviewed its policies on direct payments, including its standard agreement, and brought them into line with the Care Act 2014 and the Care and Support Statutory Guidance.

Case reference: 20 006 635

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Friends and family carers

  • The Council will remind staff they must share appropriate information about the different arrangements for caring for someone else's children with potential carers.
  • The Council will remind staff parental responsibility is not a requirement for an adult to make a corporate or statutory complaint on behalf of a child. The adult's interest in the child should be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Many councils have information leaflets or factsheets which set out the types of care arrangements for children who are not living with their parents and the support available to their carers. The Council should check if it has a leaflet and, if it does not, it will consider whether to produce one. If it decides to do so, it will send the Ombudsman an action plan for its completion.

Case reference: 20 004 818

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council will carry out an audit of the services offeredto all children of compulsory school age with an EHC Plan who have not attendeda school or a provider of education other than at school for more than 15school days. This will ensure there is an assessment of their educational needsand how they are being met.

Case reference: 20 001 360

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council has agreed to review lessons learned from this complaint anddraw up a plan, with timescales, which should include action to be taken to addressthe failings identified by this investigation in respect of EHC plan review timetables,to avoid recurrence .of those failings.

Case reference: 20 000 445

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Assessment and care plan

  • The Council will review all relevant discharge planning policies and procedures to ensure they reflect the key practises and principles set out in the 'Ready to go?' and other relevant guidance. This should ensure that:- Patients and carers are involved in the discharge planning process to enable them to make informed decisions about their care;- Staff maintain clear and accurate records, including keeping notes of any discussions with patients and their carers; and- Staff robustly assess a patient's health and social care needs as part of the discharge planning process and develop a clear care plan setting out how these needs will be met in the community.The Council will write to the Ombudsmen to explain the outcome of its review and any work it will be undertaking to improve practises and procedures in this area. The Council will also explain how it will ensure relevant staff are familiar with these practises and procedures.

Case reference: 19 016 759

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Other

  • The Trust, Council and CCG will review all relevant policies and procedures to:- Ensure there is a clear process in place for assessing, and recording, the needs of service users who are entitled to Section 117 aftercare services. This process should ensure that each service user's needs, and how these will be met, are clearly recorded in a robust care plan in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Practice.- Ensure a clear register is maintained of all service users in the area with an entitlement to Section 117 aftercare, This should record when each service user became eligible for Section 117 aftercare and when their next aftercare review should be completed.- Ensure all staff with responsibility for administering, commissioning, assessing for, or providing, Section 117 aftercare have knowledge of the revised policy as well as any relevant law and guidance.the Trust, Council and CCG will provide the Ombudsmen with evidence that they have completed this work.

Case reference: 20 003 299

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Assessment and care plan

  • By no later than 11 June 2021, the Council’s Adult social care team will review its processes about the transition of customers between services and allocating social workers without delay. .
  • By no later than 11 June 2021, the Council’s Adult Social Care team will review and improve its communications policy to ensure timely and reliable responses to its customers.

Case reference: 20 002 897

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Friends and family carers

  • The Council will confirm what provision the Light-Touch Service offers and if there are any gaps in provision, how these will be met.

Case reference: 20 002 815

Category: Education

Sub Category: School transport

  • The Council will review the sections of its School Transport Policy on fuel allowances. It should make it clear that where a child is eligible for free transport, parents can only be expected to provide the transport themselves where they agree to the arrangement and it does not involve additional costs.

Case reference: 20 002 075

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Other

  • The Council will remind relevant staff of the need to ensure contemporaneous case recording of their decision making and any information sharing.
  • The Council will remind staff of timeframes for placement planning documentation and the need to include essential information relevant to the foster care placement in these.
  • The Council will ensure relevant staff are aware of their responsibility to consider complaints under the statutory complaint’s procedure.

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Service improvements agreed by Essex County Council

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Last updated: 4 April 2015