Buckinghamshire Council to pay ‘distressed’ mum over special needs son

One of three hearings involving the local authority
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Buckinghamshire Council has been ordered to pay a mother after it caused her “distress” by failing her son who has special needs.

The council was also ordered to apologise in the decision by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman this week.

The mother – anonymised as Miss X – claimed the council failed to provide her son (Y) with alternative education and special educational provision,

Bucks CouncilBucks Council
Bucks Council

This is despite the requirements being listed in his Education Health and Care (EHC) plan since January 2022.

The Ombudsman said the mother also complained about social care support for her son, delays in the reassessment of his needs and the council’s refusal to fund his travel to and from therapy.

Its decision read: “We found fault with the council’s reimbursement of Miss X’s travel costs and also with the delays in issuing Y’s amended EHC plan after the reassessment of his needs.”

This fault “caused injustice” to the mother and son, the Ombudsman said, although it did not find fault with the provision of alternative education to Y or the delivery of his special educational provision.

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It added: “We recommend the council apologise, make a payment to recognise her distress and carry out some service improvements.”

The Ombudsman’s decision was one of three handed down to Buckinghamshire Council this week.

A couple – Mr and Mrs B – are also set to receive a payment and an apology from the council after the Ombudsman found fault in the way the local authority dealt with their daughter.

The parents said the council “required them” to enter a contract to receive the personal budget to meet their daughter ’s special educational needs.

Mr and Mrs B considered the contract “ambiguous”, and that it would not meet their daughter’s agreed needs, the Ombudsman said.

It added: “As they have not signed the document the budget is not in payment, so their daughter is not receiving all the specified support.”

In a third decision, the Ombudsman said it would not investigate a complaint about a woman being sacked and barred from working with children after the council shared inaccurate information with her employer.

The council said this was a matter for the information commissioner.