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(UK) Somerset: Council fined after delays for special needs student

Apr 19, 2023, Somerset County Gazette: Ombudsman fines Somerset Council for delays in vulnerable child plan

SW England

SOMERSET Council has been fined £500 [$622] after a “series of delays” in issuing a vulnerable child with a plan for their care.

The boy – known only as D – was issued with an education, health and care plan (ECHP) to allow him to receive schooling which took account of his special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

D’s mother, Mrs C, formally complained after delays in reviewing D’s plan left it “significantly out-of-date”, causing both parties mental and emotional distress.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has ordered the council to formally apologise and compensate the family for the distress caused….

Mrs C complained to the council in November 2021 and again in February 2022, arguing that she had received no contact from officers explaining the delay.

The council responded that it would write to Mrs C and explain its position – but Mrs C was “unhappy” with this response, since D’s plan was now “out of date” and needed further changes….

The ombudsman said the council was “at fault” for the “series of delays” surrounding D’s plan, with the council acknowledging that it had “failed to act promptly” throughout the process.

A spokesman said: “This series of delays is inherently undesirable, because it inevitably runs the risk that D’s EHCP will become out of date….


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