Ombudsman orders Redbridge Council to pay compensation to disabled teenagers

Redbridge Council was ordered to pay a family £4,500 in compensation after failing to support two severely disabled Redbridge teenagers.

The Local Government Ombudsman decided on October 15 that the pair, now adult men, should be paid £1,000 each, while their mother should receive £2,500.

Their mother, identified only as Ms X to protect the family’s identity, complained her sons were left without care to which they were legally entitled for weeks, forcing her to quit her job.

She also criticised the council for failing to plan ahead for their transition into adult care when they turned 18.

The ombudsman found delays in Redbridge Council reprocuring care for disabled children left Ms X’s two sons without proper support from September 1 to mid-September in 2018.

Ms X was only informed in writing about the change the day before and said she previously warned the council one of its key providers planned to stop offering the care her sons needed.

The ombudsman noted: “This fault caused frustration and stress… (and) meant she had to spend time trying to arrange support for her sons and providing the care herself where it was not possible.

“Ms X says the disruption caused by the change in provision meant she had to leave her job, which had an impact on her wellbeing, and a financial impact for the family as a whole.”

Ms X told the ombudsman some of the support which began in mid-September did not meet her sons’ needs, as the new provider could not offer one-on-one supervision.

She also said she was left without enough help over the 2018 Christmas holiday.

Both of her sons turned 18 in January the next year. The ombudsman found the council only started planning for their transition into adulthood a year earlier.

For young people with special educational and health needs, this process is meant to begin when they are in Year 9, at the age of 14 or 15.

The ombudsman added: “Given their complex needs this was not sufficient time for arrangements to be effective when they turned 18.

“This was fault but did not cause a significant injustice because the accommodation the family were arranging for A and B was not available until April 2019.”

Redbridge Council originally offered Ms X’s family £3,000 in compensation but this was increased to £4,500 by the ombudsman.

It also asked the council to ensure it starts planning for the 18th birthdays of children with special needs at an appropriate time.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]