Council watchdog tells Calderdale Council to pay £4,000 after girl left without education support set out in her EHCP

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Calderdale Council has apologised to a girl and her mum – and will pay £4,000 as compensation – after the girl was left without the education support she needed.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found the situation left the woman “with avoidable distress and uncertainty for longer than was necessary” about whether Calderdale Council were being proactive in getting provision for her daughter.

Referred to in the report as Mrs X, the mother complained to the ombudsman that the council did not provide mental health and occupational therapy, in line with provision that was agreed and written into her daughter’s Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP).

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She said this meant her daughter (referred to in the report as Y) was left without the support she needed.

Halifax Town HallHalifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall

A 35-week therapy course had been agreed to help the girl access education and the lack of this provision had a detrimental impact on her mental wellbeing, education, and self-esteem, said the woman.

Mrs X also said the council did not properly communicate with her about this after she made a formal complaint.

The council has agreed to send a written apology to Y for the delay in securing her agreed provision.

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Agreeing to the ombudsman’s recommendations, it will also pay Y £3,600 as a symbolic payment recognising “unremedied injustice” caused by delaying her academic provision, and pay Mrs X £400 for her avoidable distress and uncertainty.

Issues arose over delivery of the 35-week programme, for which the additional provision had been agreed but the council did not deliver.

“That is fault and it caused Mrs X an injustice because it left her with avoidable distress and uncertainty for longer than was necessary about whether the council were being proactive in getting this provision for her daughter,” said the report.

Balance of evidence showed the council had agreed the extra provision was necessary, which it should have secured and made available for Y, in her academic year of Year 13.

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It then made it available for her in Year 14, which was a delay of a full academic year, the ombudsman found.

“This caused Y a significant injustice.

“I cannot say to what extent this delay would have inhibited her overall education progress but it will likely have had an adverse impact,” found the ombudsman.