Decision Maker: Children and Education Scrutiny Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Cabinet Member authorised the payments of £500 to reflect the distress to Mr and Mrs X from the combination of the uncertaintyabout the lack of provision, the delay, and the failure to act in late 2019.
£250 to reflect the time and trouble Mr and Mrs X spent pursuing the complaint.
£750 to reflect the impact on Y of the lack of EHC provision while he was excluded, the uncertainty about whether more EHC provision could have been made for Yduring lockdown and the distress caused by the failings in the EHC reviewprocess.
Total financial remedy of £1500in line with the settlement amount recommended by the Local Government Ombudsman.
The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) investigated a complaint from a family in which a young person had an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Mr and Mrs X complained the Council failed to provide suitable education for their son and did not adhere to the Special Education Needs (SEN) Code when reviewing their son’s Education and Healthcare (EHC) plan. They also complained there were failings in the consultation with schools and the Council failed to properly respond to their complaint. The LGO found the Council was at fault and recommended a remedy.
As a result, the LGO has recommended that within eight weeks of the final decision the Council should:
1. Apologise to Mr and Mrs X and Y for the failings in the EHCP review process, the lack of EHC plan provision while Y was excluded and during COVID, and for thefailings in complaint handling. It should also apologise for the failure to carry out an early review of Y’s EHCP given the difficulties in the school meeting Y’s needs from September 2019
2. To reflect the distress to Mr and Mrs X from the combination of the uncertaintyabout the lack of provision, the delay, and the failure to act in late 2019 theCouncil should pay Mr and Mrs X £500
3. To reflect the time and trouble Mr and Mrs X spent pursuing the complaint, theCouncil should pay £250
4. To reflect the impact on Y of the lack of EHC provision while he was excluded, the uncertainty about whether more EHC provision could have been made for Yduring lockdown and the distress caused by the failings in the EHC reviewprocess, recommended the Council pays Y, through Mr and Mrs X, £750
Following this case, the Council acknowledged that it has in the past experienced challenges when meeting timescales of EHCP annual reviews. The Council are currently reviewing the annual review work and are looking specifically at why these issues have occurred. The Council are creating a plan to determine how it will prevent this occurring in the future.
The Local Government Ombudsman cannot make the Council do what is suggested in their Notice of Decision, however if the Council were to disagree with the suggested remedy the Ombudsman may be required to write a formal report in response to this. Where a formal report against a Council is issued the Ombudsman will make this public unless there are special reasons not to.
The complainants made a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman about the Council’s decision and the subsequent investigation has identified evidence of fault and suggested the Council take steps to remedy the injustice. The Council agrees with the suggestions proposed by the Ombudsman.
Publication date: 13/09/2022
Date of decision: 12/09/2022
Effective from: 17/09/2022