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(UK) Dorset: "Delays in assessment of children" compensated

Jan 4, 2023, Yahoo News: Complaints about Dorset Council continue to rise

SE England

COMPLAINTS about Dorset Council continue to rise – up by 14% year on year - and double when compared to the year before.

The latest figures show 1,400 complaints across all areas of the council in 2021-22 – although only 554 of these were fully considered formally, with 862 resolved informally.

Fifteen of the 20 more detailed cases which were upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman involved adults or children’s social services with a total of £42,300 [$52,600] awarded in financial remedies: six of these over delays in the assessment of children or young people with special educational needs.

A report to councillors says that the total amounts awarded represent a steep rise from £6,750 in 20-21 and £1,800 in 19-20, although many of the Special Education Need cases date back several years, having only just found their way into the formal complaints process. The report says that overall only 8% of the total complaints made were considered fully justified with 9% partly justified, similar percentages to the previous year….

Also up were the number of complaints about the conduct of Dorset councillors, both at unitary council level and town and parishes. These rose by 11 per cent to sixty – although only five were investigated and none upheld at the time the report was compiled.

“In line with our approach to other complaints, we will look in the future to how we can learn from complaints about councillors as part of promoting high standards of conduct,” said senior assurance officer for complaints, Antony Bygrave.

In addition to the financial payments where the Ombudsman found faults the council spent £5,700 during the year on independent investigators for the more complex cases involving children’s services, up from £4,300 in the previous year.


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