Ellie Ames 08 November 2023

South Gloucestershire families not getting agreed respite

South Gloucestershire families not getting agreed respite image
Image: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Almost a third of families with children with special needs in South Gloucestershire have not been receiving sufficient respite care, an investigation has found.

After the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) opened an enquiry, South Gloucestershire Council admitted that several families were not receiving some – or all – of their respite care entitlement.

One child assessed as needing a 52-week residential placement was living at home with ‘limited support’, the LGSCO found.

Ombudsman Paul Najsarek said: ‘For too long families in South Gloucestershire have been struggling without the vital respite support they need, and the indications we have from the council suggest for many there is no sign of this improving in the near future.

‘While we recognise the difficulties the council is having finding appropriate support locally, it should not have taken a complaint to us to spur them into more effective action.

‘I am pleased the council is working towards improving its breadth of provision and hope the rigorous local oversight it has now agreed to implement will ensure this work is not allowed to drift.’

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said the local authority had been able to provide more support since the investigation but could not yet fully deliver for all families.

An action plan to address outstanding issues is due to be discussed by the council’s cabinet next month.

The spokesperson said: ‘Like councils across the country, we are facing a major challenge in accessing the support packages to suit each family’s individual needs.

‘This is often far less a matter of cost and more that the services simply do not currently exist on the scale required.’

The new Centre for Young Lives image

The new Centre for Young Lives

Anne Longfield CBE, the chair of the Commission on Young Lives, discusses the launch of the Centre for Young Lives this month.
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