Sheffield City 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 five years, the Ombudsman has published the following public interest reports against Sheffield City Council

A Sheffield boy with special educational needs has missed out on much of his senior schooling because the city council did not provide suitable alternative education for him, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has asked Sheffield City Council to make a public apology to the people of the city after numerous problems were found with the way it removed street trees.

Sheffield City Council incorrectly assessed people for disabled blue badges, says an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

An Ombudsman investigation about a Sheffield schoolboy left without the right Special Educational Needs (SEN) support for 18 months, has highlighted how councils across the country could improve their practice.

The joint investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman found the woman was left without the right care package for more than a year, because of a dispute between Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, a mental health trust.

5

Public reports for Sheffield City 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 investigation by the Ombudsman:

Case reference: 19 012 436

Category: Transport and highways

Sub Category: Parking and other penalties

  • The Council should take steps, including training for relevant staff, to ensure officers progress representations that have been made on time, in the proper way.

Case reference: 19 009 239

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Assessment and care plan

  • Remind relevant staff that they cannot have an arbitrary ceiling to personal budgets. The £481 is a guide as to what is available within the local market but cannot be the maximum the Council will pay if someone’s needs require a more expensive setting, or a setting within that budget is not available.

Case reference: 19 007 744

Category: Benefits and tax

Sub Category: Housing benefit and council tax benefit

  • The Council will review how it contacts claimants when their correspondence about their housing benefit claim has been by email.
  • The Council's benefit portal wrongly allowed people to sign up for email notifications when the Council had not intended this service to be available. The Council has removed that option and will complete the review of the claimants who have signed up for email notifications and take appropriate action.

Case reference: 19 004 255

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • Consider what information it needs from schools when children stop attending and when it should receive this.
  • Consider how it assesses how much education children can access if they are out of school. Its assessments should clearly show what children are receiving and how much more education can be provided
  • Ensure its complaints handling system is robust enough to keep to its own timescales.

Case reference: 19 002 808

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • Ensure parents are informed of their rights to request a full needs assessment as part of the EHCP process.
  • Work with schools, when EHPs are finalised, to ensure all parts can be implemented immediately.
  • Clarify, with the NHS Trust, whether the form requesting information for professional input to an EHCP does, as it stands, allow a full assessment of the child or young person to be carried out.
  • Develop a means of following-up professionals when they are asked for reports for EHCPs but then do not deliver them and identify actions to take.
  • Explain what action it will take, or has taken, to answer complaints in accordance with its guidance.

Case reference: 19 002 255

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Residential care

  • The Council will remind staff of the importance of keeping accurate and complete records when conducting enquiries under section 24 of the Care Act 2014.

Case reference: 19 000 758

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Charging

  • As part of the Council’s review of its charging processes to put in place procedures to identify potential system failures; such as random checks.

Case reference: 18 019 236

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council agreed to provide the Ombudsman with details of the improvements in procedures it says it has made around consulting schools as part of the Education Health and Care Plan process .
  • The Council will explain how it proposes to ensure it sends out information about the right of appeal with a final Education Health and Care Plan and records that it has done so.

Case reference: 18 016 372

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Safeguarding

  • The Council will review how it ensures compliance with medication policies by its commissioned contractors
  • The Council will review how it escalates concerns about contractors.

Case reference: 18 015 263

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Child protection

  • For the Council to consider whether social workers need further guidance on identifying emotional abuse and to let me know what action it decides to take.

Case reference: 18 014 232

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council agreed to review its procedures to ensure that when it receives a notification that a child in its area may have special educational needs, it consults parents and other professionals to reach a decision about assessing the child within six weeks.
  • The Council agreed to amend its processes to ensure it retains copies of any draft EHCPs issued to parents.This will ensure there is a clear audit trail of any changes made as the plan progresses.
  • The Council agreed to remind officers working with children of the Council’s own guidance regarding early referrals for EHCP needs assessments where necessary.
  • The Council agreed to issue a reminder to schools in its area about the inappropriate use of ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ exclusions.

Case reference: 18 013 819

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Friends and family carers

  • The Council has agreed to review its child arrangements order allowance policy to ensure that it clearly sets out the Council’s discretionary powers.

Case reference: 18 012 042

Category: Environment and regulation

Sub Category: Refuse and recycling

  • Review the wording of its Section 46 notice, to ensure it is clear for future use.

Case reference: 18 007 973

Category: Planning

Sub Category: Planning applications

  • The Council agreed to review its public-facing information about its corporate complaints process and the enforcement reporting process and provide clear public information on the difference between the two; consider links across from the corporate webpage to the enforcement webpage and provide clarity on what complainants can expect in terms of responses on enforcement matters.

Case reference: 18 007 951

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council will write to the Ombudsman and explain: How many similar complaints it has had since introducing the localities system and how much higher or lower than the previous level, if applicable; Its assessment of the success of failure of the localities system; The steps it has taken to improve the system since its introduction;and Its view on whether it is sensible to approve provision of EHCPs when schools have stated they cannot provide the care set out in them.

Case reference: 17 019 772

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Assessment and care plan

  • The Council will review its local agreement with the CCG, to improve assessment and care and support planning processes for service users whose care is jointly funded. In particular, they should address the way the two organisations communicate and work together to assess and gather information from service users.

Case reference: 18 011 530

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • Provide the Ombudsman with evidence of the structural changes and training the Council has said it has made or proposes to make, to ensure there is no recurrence of this problem.

Case reference: 18 007 073

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • Consider changing its procedures so health professionals work with it in order to provide services to children who need them, specifically when assessments are mentioned in an EHCP. It should do this within four months of the date of this decision.

Case reference: 17 019 956

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council will review its processes to ensure that it always sends a decision letter and information about appeal rights when it reviews an Education and Health Care plan.
  • The Council will review its processes to ensure that if a child's profile is changed to show a dual registration that it alerts its Special Educational Needs team and Child Out of School team to ensure that enquiries are made and appropriate action taken.

Case reference: 17 015 845

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Residential care

  • The Council has agreed to prepare an action plan for collecting assessed charges from care home residents, rather than allowing care providers to do this.

Case reference: 16 010 036

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Assessment and care plan

  • The Council will reiterate the importance of contingency planning to staff when dealing with complex cases, particularly concerning people with autism;
  • Improve its procedures for transferring cases between teams. The Council should be clear about when responsibility passes from one team to another and communicate this properly to service users;
  • It will remind staff about the importance of including needs associated with autism in care plans.

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Service improvements agreed by Sheffield City Council

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Last updated: 4 April 2015

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