The LGO considered a claim against London Borough of Merton brought by Mrs B. Mrs B complained that the Council failed to support her when she started to care for her brother. As a result Mrs B had increased expenditure and caring for her brother which had placed a strain on her family. The LGO found that there was fault by the Council in not treating Mrs B as a family and friends foster carer for her brother for over four years. As a result of the Council’s failure, Mrs B did not receive the allowances she would have received if the Council had acted without fault. The Council agreed to pay Mrs B the allowances which she would have received if it had treated her a family and friends foster carer for her brother. The Council paid Mrs B £43,478.
Mr and Mirs B complained that Warwickshire County Council failed to properly answer their complaint about the way in which the Council dealt with their application to become Special Guardians for their two grandchildren. The LGO found that the Council was at fault in the way it dealt with Mr and Mrs B’s application and particularly around the financial support they were entitled to. The Council offered to Mr and Mrs B £1,000 for legal fees and £150 for the complaint delay and the £3617 already pad for the additional needs allowance. However the LGO considered that a higher remedy is appropriate given the level of injustice and the Council agreed therefore to pay Mr and Mrs B the following:
Increase £150 to £300 for delay in the complaints process and the resulting lost opportunity to interview key officers who had left;
£750 for the failure to consider or pay a settling-in allowance;
£250 for the failure to consider an additional needs allowance until now;
£500 for the failure to consider a contribution to a new vehicle or to fund a roof-box to resolve the luggage issues. This caused uncertainty at a difficult time and a lost opportunity to clarify the Council’s policy in this regard.
£250 for delay in starting the viability assessment and very poor communication during the period before the twins were born.
The LGO considered a complaint against Oxfordshire County Council, brought by Mrs X. The LGO found that the Council caused injustice to Mrs X. The Council failed to properly assess Mrs X’s ability to care for Y, and Y’s needs as a child in need when she agreed to care for Y, her sister’s son. The arrangement relieved the Council from having to seek parental responsibility for Y, which it was preparing to do. This caused Mrs X financial hardship at the time. The Council offered to help Mrs X make contact with the Council in whose area she now lives to progress an application for support now. The Council has agreed to pay Mrs X £2000 to recognise the injustice caused to her through its fault in 2004.
In this case the LGO found that when Wakefield City Council arranged for Mr X’s grandson, Y, to live with him, it failed to make clear to Mr X it believed it was a private arrangement. As Y’s mother had abandoned him the Council was under a duty to accommodate him and it was under a duty provide a full and proper explanation to Mr X. The Council also failed to properly safeguard Y who was allegedly both a victim and perpetrator of sexual abuse. The Council failed to carry out the actions required by Y’s Child Protection Plan before the case was transferred to another council in February 2011. The Council agreed the below:
Apologise to Mr X for its errors.
Apologise to Y for the lack of support it gave him.
Pay Mr X £500 for the distress caused by the Council’s acknowledged failures in services and failure to communicate with him effectively, including not sharing documents with him and not inviting him to the Child Protection Conference.
Pay Y £1,000 to recognise any distress caused to him by the Council’s failure to visit Y enough, to effectively safeguard him while he was its responsibility, and to provide support services to him as both an alleged victim and perpetrator of sexual abuse and as a looked after child.
To calculate and pay Mr X the family and friends foster allowance, relevant to Y’s age.
Ms M and Mr P complained that London Borough of Havering failed to provide the financial support it promised when their Special Guardianship Order was agreed and failed to review their support needs appropriately. Ms M and Mr P alleged that the Council delayed in dealing with their complaints. The LGO found that that the Council was at fault and caused injustice to Ms M and Mr P. The Council agreed to make a payment of £700 to Ms M and Mr P and apologise for the failings highlighted in this statement. The Council also agreed to change its procedures to ensure support plans were more specific in terms of what was expected from Special Guardians. The Council has agreed to review its procedures and conduct staff training so it would be clear that only where a needs assessment identifies unmet needs that need to be funded, would a financial assessment be carried out. The Council also agreed to change its procedures to ensure it kept to statutory timescales throughout the complaints process and to make sure senior managers understood their roles and responsibilities within this process.
Malcolm Johnson E: email@example.com
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