Advice on comparing statistics across years

In 2022-23 we changed our investigation processes, contributing towards an increase in the average uphold rate across all complaints. Consider comparing individual council uphold rates against the average rate rather than against previous years.

In 2020-21 we received and decided fewer complaints than normal because we stopped accepting new complaints for three months due to Covid-19.

Suffolk County Council

Annual statistics ?Find out more about annual statistics

  • Complaints upheld

    83% of complaints we investigated were upheld.

    This compares to an average of 80% in similar authorities.

    62 upheld decisions

    Adjusted for Suffolk County Council's population, this is
    8.1 upheld decisions per 100,000 residents
    .

    The average for authorities of this type is
    3.4 upheld decisions per 100,000 residents.

    View upheld decisions

    Statistics are based on a total of 75 detailed investigations for the period between 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023

  • Compliance with Ombudsman recommendations

    96% of cases we were satisfied the Council had successfully implemented our recommendations.

    This compares to an average of 100% in similar authorities.

    Statistics are based on a total of 57 compliance outcomes for the period between 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023

  • Satisfactory remedies provided by the Council

    In 11% of upheld cases we found the Council had provided a satisfactory remedy before the complaint reached the Ombudsman.

    This compares to an average of 6% in similar authorities.

    7 satisfactory remedy decisions

    Statistics are based on a total of 62 detailed investigations for the period between 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023

    View all satisfactory remedy decisions

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.

View annual letters

Public reports ?Find out more about public reports

In the last nine years, the Ombudsman has published the following public interest reports against Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council needs to make improvements “as a priority” to the way it provides alternative education to children who can’t go to school, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has warned.

A Suffolk girl did not receive vital Occupational Therapy for nearly two years because of council confusion, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

Councils are being reminded by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman that vulnerable people can choose who supports them through care reviews, after Suffolk County Council halted assessments for a couple’s care and support plans because of a dispute.

An autistic teenager was moved from her residential special school midway through her studies because of poor planning by Suffolk County Council, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

A Suffolk woman, who was charged for homecare despite workers falsifying records, should have some of her fees refunded, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has said.

5

Public reports for Suffolk County Council

View all

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: 23 006 191

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council has agreed to proivde an update with its progress in improving its adherence to statutory times scales both in issuing EHC plans following a needs assessment and completing the Annual Review process and provides details of ongoing actions to secure improvements in these areas.

Case reference: 23 005 964

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council agreed to issue reminders to all staff in its Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) service that:when a child with an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plan moves from a different council's area, the Council must let the family know within 6 weeks of transfer whether it will carry out an EHC needs assessment, or when it will review the plan. It also must review the plan within 3 months, or within 12 months of the previous review by the old council, whichever is later; andany final EHC plan issued must be shared with the family, along with their rights to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (SEND).
  • The Council agreed to review its processes and procedures, and issue reminders to relevant staff, to ensure that where it is aware a child is being educated part-time, it keeps the suitability of this arrangement under regular review.
  • The Council agreed to ensure a copy of our final decision is considered as part of its ongoing Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Improvement Strategy, following its Independent SEND Review. The Council commissioned this independent review in 2021 to address issues with its SEND services and is monitoring progress against the actions it identified.

Case reference: 23 005 229

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council will send a memo to officers in education to make clear when a child receives alternative provision the Council keeps the number of hours provided under review. That memo should also remind officers of the need to ensure prompt consultations with schools take place when a child is out of education, the requirement to put in place provision by day 6 and that it sends consultations to multiple schools at the same time rather than sending out individual consultations.
  • The Council will provide evidence to the Ombudsman it has in place a process to identify alternative speech and language therapists or occupational therapists when a shortage is preventing provision in a child's EHCP being put into place.

Case reference: 23 004 587

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Assessment and care plan

  • Remind staff about the importance of reviewing STAP goals when there is a change in circumstances and the need for a properly completed Care Act assessment when the service ends;
  • Use this complaint to remind staff about the importance of professional boundaries and providing clarity about roles and responsibilities;
  • Through commissioning with the Care Provider ensure that it has policies in place and staff are aware about professional boundaries.

Case reference: 23 002 813

Category: Education

Sub Category: Alternative provision

  • The Council should remind its staff that the In Year Fair Access Protocol does not exclude pupils who are undergoing an EHC Needs Assessment, only those who have EHC plans naming a school.

Case reference: 23 002 669

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council agreed to issue reminders to all staff in its Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) service that:when a child with an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plan moves from a different council’s area, the Council must let the family know within 6 weeks of transfer whether it will carry out an EHC needs assessment, or when it will review the plan. It also must review the plan within 3 months, or within 12 months of the previous review by the old council, whichever is later; andany final EHC plan issued must be shared with the family, along with their rights to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (SEND).
  • The Council agreed to review its processes and procedures, and issue reminders to relevant staff, to ensure that where it is aware a child is being educated part-time, it keeps the suitability of this arrangement under regular review
  • The Council agreed to ensure a copy of our final decision is considered as part of its ongoing Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Improvement Strategy, following its Independent SEND Review. The Council commissioned this independent review in 2021 to address issues with its SEND services and is monitoring progress against the actions it identified.

Case reference: 23 000 434

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council has agreed to carrying out training of its Special Educational Needs and Disability staff in the following areas:statutory timeframes for progressing through the stages of annual reviews;its duty to finalise Education, Health and Care plans within statutory timeframes following annual reviews;the importance of annual review notes and draft, amended Education, Health and Care plans making clear what amendments are proposed and not referring the reader instead to separate documents;its duty to prepare its young people for adulthood in all Education, Health and Care plan annual reviews from year 9 onwards;its duty to review Education, Health and Care plans every 12 months, regardless of whether there is an ongoing appeal to the Special Education Needs and Disability Tribunal;the Council's non-delegable duty to secure the provision set out in section F of Education, Health and Care plans; andthe importance of seeking records regarding the amount of provision missed by a child or young person, once the Council becomes aware that the provision is not being delivered.

Case reference: 23 000 005

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Assessment and care plan

  • The Council will remind relevant staff to ensure care and support plan reviews are carried out annually.

Case reference: 22 017 638

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council will review any how it can limit any delays to the Education, Health, and Care plan process, including steps which may be outside its control such as advice from professionals. It will also remind staff responsible for progressing and overseeing the process to adhere to the statutory timescales.
  • The Council will remind staff and managers responsible for responding to complaints to ensure it responds to complaints within the timescales set out in its Complaints Policy, and to keep complainants informed if there are delays in the process.

Case reference: 22 017 430

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council has agreed to share the final decision with all members of the SEN team with a reminder of the obligation to consult with the parental preference, issue EHCPs at the correct time and provide regular updates to parents
  • The Council will also reflect on the issues raised in the decision statement and identify any areas of service improvement, particularly around communication with parents, delay in the EHCP process and consultation procedure. The Council will prepare a short report setting out what it has done/intends to do to ensure similar problems do not reoccur. This report should be sent to the Ombudsman.

94

Service improvements agreed by Suffolk County Council

View all

Last updated: 4 April 2015

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