Lincolnshire
November 13, 2020 4.39 pm

Council told to pay £600 to mother after mishandling complaints

“Personal injustice” made right by ombudsman

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincolnshire County Council has been told to pay £600 to a mother after delays and inaccuracies in dealing with her complaints.

It has also had to make a series of apologies for referring to her historical sexual abuse as “alleged” even after the perpetrator was convicted.

During the investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman, the woman known as Miss X said the council “made her look like a child abuser and made her feel worthless” after sharing allegations made by one of her children with a school, which were later withdrawn.

In 2017 and early 2018, the council became concerned about the impact of conflict between the woman and her former partner on their two older children.

However, there was no record of such an allegation being reported or withdrawn and the ombudsman could not pursue it further due to a lack of evidence.

The mother made many complaints about the council’s handling of the older children’s case.

She said the council was wrong to conclude the level of care provided to her sons, they failed to follow up inconsistencies in the officers’ accounts and failed to interview a key witness, a domestic abuse worker.

The ombudsman said the council have caused her a “personal injustice”.

To remedy this, the council will apologise for calling her historical abuse as “alleged” and “place a copy of the final decision statement in relevant files to ensure officers working with the family in future are aware of the failings identified through the complaints process and this investigation.”

Janice Spencer, Assistant Director for Children’s Services, said: “We have apologised for the shortcomings in the way this case was handled and the distress it caused, and we have completed all of the actions recommended by the ombudsman.

“The council has one of the best rated children’s services in the country, and it is disappointing that we have not met our own high standards in this instance.”

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