Norfolk agrees to increased scrutiny of SEND children services

Norfolk County Council has agreed to regular scrutiny of its services for children with Special Educational Needs (SEND) after an ombudsman found they failed the same boy twice.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said it was asked to investigate, for a second time, the support Norfolk County Council provided to a particular boy.

The Ombudsman had previously issued a report in October 2018, after it found the council had not ensured the boy had a suitable education for eight months.

In the most recent case, the mother said the council again failed to provide her son with a suitable education after his school placement broke down, meaning he was without proper education for nearly four months. During that time, the mother had to pay for a personal tutor.

Councillors in Norfolk will now be provided with regular detailed analysis of the county council’s SEND services following the Ombudsman’s report.

I am concerned Norfolk council has again failed this boy and not provided him with an education appropriate for his needs, despite being made aware the school he was attending was no longer suitable,’ said Ombudsman, Michael King.

‘When we published our last report about the family’s situation, the council made steps to improve its services, but it is clear more could be done to learn from its mistakes.

I hope that by increasing the level of scrutiny from councillors, a way can be found to ensure other children and their families do not fall through the cracks as has happened in this case,’ added Mr King.

The investigation report was issued to both the council and the family before the COVID-19 lockdown and the Ombudsman understands the council has started to implement some of its recommendations to put things right.

In this case the council has agreed to reimburse the mother for the cost of paying for her son’s education for nearly four months.

It will also pay her £1,400 for the seven months the son was without a suitable education and a further £250 for the distress and time and trouble she was put to.

Last month, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group pledged to improve services for children with special educational needs, following a joint area inspection report.

Photo Credit – Ponce_photography (Pixabay)

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