Mr B and Ms C complained about Coventry City Council’s handling of the adoption process when they sought to adopt three children. The LGO found that the Council took too long to consider Mr B’s and Ms C’s complaint and this was an administrative fault. The LGO found that the most significant fault by the Council was its decision not to proceed with the adoption. There was also fault by the Council in deciding on the payment of an adoption allowance. The Council failed to explain the reasons for its decisions and wrongly said that Mr B and Ms C were financially motivated. The Council agreed to pay Mr B and Ms C £5,200 and circulate the report according to the LGO’s guidance.
Mrs X complained that there was unreasonable delay by Kingston upon Hull City Council in carrying out the recommendations made in 2013 following an investigation of her complaint. Mrs X’s complaint was about a social worker using incorrect information about her and her husband in an assessment of them as prospective adopters. Mrs X said that the delay in amending the records as recommended prevented them moving forward with applications to other adoption agencies. The LGO found that the Council was at fault in taking too long to amend its records about the complainant’s adoption application after agreeing that they contained inaccurate information. This caused Mr and Mrs X a great deal of distress as they were conscious of getting older and of their own child missing out on the possibility of having a sibling to share her childhood with. Ms and Mrs X were also anxious that their professional reputations may be at risk while the incorrect records remained in place. The Council agreed to pay Ms X £1,500 to recognise the distress cased because of the time she had lost in being able to pursue the application, and her time and trouble in trying to resolve the issue.
Ms B complained against Northamptonshire County Council that she was unfairly treated by the Council’s Children’s Services Department by being refused an assessment as a possible carer for her son, excluded from correspondence about him and excluded from significant events in his life. The LGO found that there was fault by the Council in that Officer S failed to carry out the parenting assessment as was instructed to do. This meant Ms B was denied the opportunity to be assessed as a possible carer for her son. There was also fault in the lack of management supervision of the case and in the quality of communication about C’s transition to a new carer. Further, there was fault in the way the Council handled the investigation of Ms B’s complaint. The Council agreed to re-offer Ms B the payment of £1300 in recognition of its failings and review its procedures.
Mr and Mrs B complained that Northamptonshire County Council failed to deal with and provide an appropriate remedy for injustice caused by maladministration in the handling of the case as prospective adopters. The LGO found that there was fault by the Council in the way it considered the remedy for injustice caused by fault in its handling of pre-adoption matters. The LGO found that although the Council identified fault and recognised that this caused injustice to Mr and Mrs B, it did not appropriately address the matter of remedy. The Council offered £300 remedy. However, the Council did not address the matter of remedy for the injustice caused to Mr and Mrs B by the substantive faults identified during the complaint investigation. There was uncertainty about whether, had the identified faults not occurred, Mr and Mrs B may have been successful in the adoption process or further along and in a different position in the process than they founf themselves. The faults also led to a loss of faith in the process; to concerns about how they are perceived by the Council going forward; and to stress and distress during identified periods of delay and where there was a lack of communication. While the investigation noted that Mr and Mrs B may have contributed to some of the identified difficulties themselves, the Council’s lack of support and advice and open communications with them from the outset is likely to have been a relevant factor in this also. Therefore the LGO recommended that the Council pay Mr and Mrs B £1,300.
The LGO considered a claim against West Berkshire Council brought by Mr and Mrs P. Mr and Mrs P complained that the Council failed to investigate fully their complaint about its approach to supporting the placement of a child, L, who was placed with them for adoption. Mr and Mrs P believed that the Council failed to offer appropriate social work support and necessary extra resources, which contributed to the breakdown of the placement. The LGO stated that the placement otherwise would have succeeded. But the family was caused additional distress and uncertainty. The Council has agreed to make a payment of £1000 to recognize their time, trouble and distress.
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