COUNCIL BLASTED FOR FAILING TO INVESTIGATE CHILDREN’S SERVICES COMPLAINT PROPERLY

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has criticised the Isle of Wight Council for failing to properly investigate a mother’s complaint about the way it removed her disabled son’s personal budget.

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

The mother’s complaint centred on the council deciding to stop 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.

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After being unhappy with the council’s initial response, the mother asked the council no less than 4 times to escalate her complaint to Stage 2 of the 3-stage statutory children’s complaints procedure. Each time she asked for her complaint to be escalated, the council decided her dissatisfaction was about a separate issue and was a new complaint. But her complaint was about the same issue throughout and any new issues were the result of the council’s failure to investigate her complaint correctly.

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.

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

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, has said:

“Statutory guidance says councils must progress complaints through all three stages of the children’s complaints procedure if that is what the person wants.

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“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.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case, the council has agreed to apologise to the family and pay the son £100 to acknowledge he did not have access to a service he was entitled to for 2 months. It will also pay the mum £300 to acknowledge the uncertainty and distress caused and £500 to acknowledge the time and trouble caused by not escalating her complaint to stage 2.

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The Ombudsman has the power to make recommendations to improve processes for the wider public. In this case the council has agreed to review its procedures for personal budgets and develop a procedure to respond to concerns about how a payee is using or managing a personal budget.

The Isle of Wight Council has also agreed to provide all staff training on the statutory complaint procedure and task a senior officer not previously involved to contact all complainants that were refused a Stage 2 or Stage 3 complaint and ensure each refusal complied with the statutory guidance. If any do not, it should take steps to reopen those complaint investigations and progress to the next stage if the complainant wishes.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
23 Comments
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annoyed
annoyed
3 months ago

more entitled leeches demanding money from us hard working taxpayers

less of them mean we keep more of the money we earn for ourselves..After all we work to support ourselves, not spongers

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  annoyed
3 months ago

well said annoyed – unbelievable self entitlement by this woman.

She
She
Reply to  isle of wighter
3 months ago

Let’s hope you never need their help
Feel karma could be upon you

Zoe Morgan
Zoe Morgan
Reply to  annoyed
3 months ago

Let’s hope you never become disabled. Christ, what a shocking attitude! Would you like to go back to Victorian times? This country does need to get a grip with sponges, sure, but we don’t know this womans story…

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  Zoe Morgan
3 months ago

still sponging off the rest of us though by spending the money on things she wasn’t meant to be.

annoyed
annoyed
Reply to  Zoe Morgan
3 months ago

plenty of people are disabled but do not sponge..they work, pay their bills and do not expect to be treated differently because of a disability.

others blatantly demand equality but expect to be treated differently with free taxpayers cash

She
She
Reply to  Zoe Morgan
3 months ago

Good on the mother for fighting for the rights of her son
Council fail on all aspects
Good training in everything wouldn’t go a miss

Will
Will
Reply to  annoyed
3 months ago

Pipe down you attention seeking fool. Yes there are spongers as you put it. But what gives you the right to make that assumption on this lady on a short news story with minimal information what a sad little one viewed person

annoyed
annoyed
Reply to  Will
3 months ago

i can assume you are leeching also judging by your comment

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
3 months ago

 because it said she was not spending the money in line with their agreement.
………

And there it is…spending it on things she wasn’t meant to be and then whinges. The breathtaking arrogance and self entitlement to hard working taxpayers money by this woman is breathtaking.

perhaps she should work and pay for her own kids upkeep – he is not our kid and not our responsibility, so why are we working, effectively for nothing, when more money is taken from us, just to hand to this woman, to spend on herself.

Zoe Morgan
Zoe Morgan
Reply to  isle of wighter
3 months ago

Shocking. I thought the measure of a civilised society is how it treats it’s most vulnerable! There does need to be a stop to all these ‘diasabled’ people driving around in brand new 4x4s thanks to the corrupt Motability scheme, but maybe this kid is in real need….

Hardworking
Hardworking
3 months ago

So here we go again , the tax paid by hard-working individuals goes as compensation, why does this person need compensation, surely an apology by the council and a change made to ensure that this does not happen again should be enough but no these sponging leaches who claim they, their kids have mental health issues, disabilities etc just to get the free blue badge or extra income so they don’t have to work so hard. Go back to before benefits where if you worked you had the rewards and If you didn’t well tough luck. Too many spongers in our society.

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  Hardworking
3 months ago

Yep and all down voted comments will be by those leeches in all areas of society that take and take, yet contribute nothing.

dot
dot
3 months ago

It cost the council £900 to get it right how many others has it done this to The council say they agreed to make sure other complaints are handled properly in future. and pigs might fly this will happen again and again they do not learn from their mistakes.

Big Ben
Big Ben
3 months ago

Tells you all you need to know about DS and chums attitude towards the disabled, the tory’s really are a disgrace.

Susan
Susan
3 months ago

First of all why assume you know the true situation and start calling people disgusting names. You cannot know the circumstances- they are confidential. Secondly I wish we could get ALL the IOW Council departments investigated, because there is a lot of corruption apparent in all their dealings, especially housing development and road planning, and it is time we had a really good audit by Central Government into how they spend and waste money and never give anything back.

annoyed
annoyed
Reply to  Susan
3 months ago

don’t care what the reason is…she is sponging and if it was that confidential
why is it in the news.

take take that is all these leeches do

She
She
Reply to  annoyed
3 months ago

Let’s hope you never have a disability

Dicky Daniels
Dicky Daniels
3 months ago

Wonder why council tax rises so much. Some are adept at spending others money, Council tax should not pay towards the ever greater number of Entitled. They want, but wouldn’t contribute to others.

Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box
3 months ago

Well let’s all hope that the Dave Stewart rollercoaster disaster will soon crash and burn. The council needs to be sorted out, audited, and a good check on the inventory and costings of brown envelopes, because there must of been a heck of a lot of them dished out lately. Check the shredders too they must be working overtime right now.

Wendy
Wendy
Reply to  Jack in the Box
3 months ago

We need to ensure we vote more carefully this May as it is the only chance to rid this Island of this likely very corrupt council.

But I also agree way too many freeloading useless spongers on the take. They get FREE NHS treatment and that is ALL they should get.

Only a few years ago IF you were disabled or dim, or a drain on society you would be grateful you had a subsidised home and free medical treatment as you knew you were a ‘drain’ on society.

Now they expect and get MORE than most working, and are still not content.

She
She
3 months ago

People in need are entitled to get the help they deserve …
Council think they can do what they like in more ways than one…
Good the mother took it further
Many more need to do the same
Stand up for peoples rights…

John Doe
John Doe
3 months ago

So the council decided to stop her disabled sons money because it accused her of not spending the money inline with their agreement.The mother disagrees then starts an appeals process as is her right. The council then try every trick in the book to block her appeal and her chance to put her side of the story across.You have to ask yourself why they did this?..
Seems to me the council made a unfounded allegation then used all of its bureaucratic might to bully the mother into dropping her appeal.
Shame on them and shame on the posters too bigoted and selfish to see this in the article

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