William Eichler 14 January 2020

Council apologises for ‘significant failings’ in SEND provision

Council apologises for ‘significant failings’ in SEND provision image

Richmond council has acknowledged that there were ‘significant failings’ in its provision of special educational needs and disability services after a critical Ombudsman report.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has criticised the council’s children’s service provider, Achieving for Children, for not effectively supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The Ombudsman warned of ‘systemic failures’ between the council and its provider which came to light during an investigation that uncovered evidence of children missing out on support and education in three separate cases.

The investigation found that documents in case files were often named or filed incorrectly. It also learnt that the council had three separate IT systems for managing information.

In one of the cases, the Ombudsman’s investigation was only able to discover what had happened because the family had kept thorough records.

‘The three cases highlighted in my report give rise to serious concerns that there may be systemic failures within the processes operated by the London Borough of Richmond and Achieving for Children,’ said Michael King, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

‘I have published this report in part because other families may very well be affected by issues similar to those I have raised.

‘I have now asked the council to undertake a full audit of its education provision and report back to me about what it finds. If the council finds other children have been affected, it should take steps to ensure they do not miss out on the services they are entitled to receive by law.’

Ian Dodds, director of children’s services for Richmond Council, said that the 2014 SEND Reforms had been ‘an enormous challenge for all local councils’, particularly in the context of cuts and increasing demand.

The 2014 SEND Reforms meant that councils have been required to extend provision from birth to 25 years of age, which has squeezed already overstretched council budgets.

‘The LGSCO report is accepted in full and clearly shows that there were significant failings for some children and young people between 2016 and 2017,’ Cllr Dodds said.

‘This does not reflect what I want to see in place for every child and young person.

‘It does show that Richmond Council and Achieving for Children were slow to recognise the increased demands of the 2014 Act and our sincerest apologies have been extended to the families of the children and young people the Ombudsman has reported on.’

‘Since the period of the Ombudsman’s investigations, much has been achieved and significant investment has been made locally,’ he added.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Principal Clinical/Counselling Psychologist

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Principal Clinical/Counselling PsychologistPermanent, Part Time£51,510 to £55,000 per annum (Pro Rata)The Divisional Based Intervention Team (D-BIT) a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director of Housing

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205 per annum      
This is an excellent time to work within Rotherham. We are passionate about the place and the people who live, work and visit here. Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Joint Assistant Director – Commissioning and Performance

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205
As the Assistant Director, you will be passionate about achieving excellent performance and determined to... Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Social Workers - Family Support and Protection - North Essex

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Social Workers and Senior Practitioners- Family Support and Protection - North EssexPermanent, Full Time£32,065 to £49,183 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

School Attendance Lead

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
This is a multi-layered role, in which you'll both be a trusted advisor, and you will be representative of the legal need for... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue