William Eichler 11 March 2021

Ombudsman criticises council for failing to investigate mother’s complaint

Ombudsman criticises council for failing to investigate mother’s complaint image

Isle of Wight Council has been criticised for failing to properly investigate a mother’s complaint about the way it removed her disabled son’s personal budget.

The mother complained to the council after they stopped the money she received as a personal budget for her son, who has complex needs, because it said she was not spending the money in line with their agreement.

The council was asked four times by the mother to escalate her complaint to Stage 2 of the three-stage statutory children’s complaints procedure. However, the local authority treated each complaint as a new issue.

The mother sought help from a solicitor to try to get the council to escalate her complaint. The council then told her she needed to meet certain criteria before it would be progressed.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s investigation found the council did not follow procedures set out in law for dealing with complaints about children’s services. By the time the Ombudsman became involved the council had delayed the woman’s complaint by more than a year.

As part of the investigation, it became apparent other people on the island had also not had their complaints properly considered through the statutory process.

‘Statutory guidance says councils must progress complaints through all three stages of the children’s complaints procedure if that is what the person wants,’ said Michael King, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

‘By putting barriers and conditions on the mother’s complaint and insisting she was making new complaints even when they covered the same issues, the council was, in effect, gatekeeping and preventing her from accessing her statutory rights.

‘I am pleased the council has accepted my recommendations and hope the training and procedural changes it has agreed to make will ensure other complaints are handled properly in future.

‘I will be issuing new guidance to local authorities shortly to clarify how I expect them to tackle children’s complaints.’

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: ‘We are aware a Public Interest Report has been published by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) today, which will be considered in private by the cabinet this evening.

‘Until formally published by the LGSCO and considered by cabinet, it is not possible to discuss, nor issue a response.’

Photo: © Lewis Clarke

Problematic predictions image

Problematic predictions

Paul Wheeler looks at how the Super Thursday electoral feast is shaping up. He highlights the key trends that are marking these ‘postal vote elections’.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Service Director – Development & Regulation

West Berkshire Council
Up to £96,585 per annum
We are looking for a candidate with the passion for place making and a successful track record in leading and developing large multi-service teams.  Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council

Mayoralty & Business Manager

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£41,292 - £50,034
The Mayoralty & Business Manager will be responsible for maintaining the reputation of both Mayoralties and promoting a positive image of... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Joint Assistant Director - Communities and Wellbeing

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
£75,000
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are at the forefront of joint working and are a progressive award-winning partnership Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Social Worker - Early Intervention Team

Essex County Council
Up to £207 per day + Umbrella
About the RoleWorking to support adults, and their families, who have complex social needs and are more vulnerable as a result of disability, exclusio England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

ESAB Safeguarding Adult Review Officer

Essex County Council
Up to £35027 per annum
ESAB Safeguarding Adult Review OfficerPermanent, Full TimeUp to £35,027 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County 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