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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.

Suffolk 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 Suffolk County Council

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.

3

Public reports for Suffolk 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: 20 003 486

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council will review its procedures for dealing with requests for personal budgets and direct payments to ensure it accords with the statutory guidance and that is properly explains its reasons for its decisions.

Case reference: 19 019 102

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • For the Council to tell me how it will ensure it issues letters and finalises Education, Health and Care Plans within statutory timescales going forward.
  • For the Council to tell me how it will ensure it arranges alternative provision as soon as it is aware a child is out of school for whatever reason.

Case reference: 20 000 639

Category: Education

Sub Category: Special educational needs

  • The Council has also agreed to: • carry out an audit to identify any other cases where the Council failed to follow statutory timescales within the EHCP review process and develop an action plan to appropriately address and remedy any delays identified;
  • • remind its staff of the requirement to adhere to the statutory timescales within the EHCP process;
  • • provide evidence the Council has amended its guidance to staff regarding Post -16 provision, specifically, to show that Post-16 cases do not need to be referred to its Specialist Education Panel, and
  • • remind its staff to adhere to its complaints policy.

Case reference: 19 016 921

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Direct payments

  • The Council has changed its supervisory arrangements for checking an officer's caseload when they are absent from work.

Case reference: 19 015 896

Category: Education

Sub Category: School transport

  • The Council delayed responding to a request for school transport, causing injustice. The Council has agreed to identify the reason for the delay, take steps to prevent recurrence and notify the Ombudsman of the steps taken.

Case reference: 19 011 786

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Friends and family carers

  • The Council agreed to brief all relevant staff on the importance of informing carers when it begins child protection enquiries under Section 47 of the Children’s Act and to ensure they receive a written record of the outcome.

Case reference: 19 007 626

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Disabled children

  • The Council will amend its published literature so that it accurately reflects the three stage statutory children's complaints process. And it will take steps to ensure staff follow the statutory process unless there are exceptional reasons.
  • The Council has agreed to provide training to relevant staff to ensure they provide realistic advice and information on the support available from children’s services and transfer cases to the correct teams.

Case reference: 19 006 986

Category: Adult care services

Sub Category: Charging

  • The Council has agreed to review its procedures and remind staff of the need to ensure all relevant communication between officers and service users is recorded in the Council’s running records.

Case reference: 19 007 878

Category: Children's care services

Sub Category: Other

  • Within two months, the Council will have reviewed its complaints process to prevent reoccurrence of delays.

Case reference: 18 018 002

Category: Education

Sub Category: School transport

  • The Council has agreed to review its school transport appeals procedures to ensure they are in line with statutory guidance. In the meantime, the Council will offer all appellants an opportunity to present their case in person to an independent panel at the second stage of its appeals process.

26

Service improvements agreed by Suffolk County Council

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Last updated: 4 April 2015