The Local Government Ombudsman has stated that councils must make sure that they follow the statutory children’s complaints process in order for children’s voices to be heard. This comes after a recent investigation into a complaint filed against Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council in which two girls aged four and five at the time made allegations about their former foster carer.
According to the girls (who had informed their adoptive mother), their former carer had hit them, made one of the girls wear a nappy meant for a disabled child and had made them take cold baths.
The adoptive mother informed the council, however, the latter did not get together a planning meeting involving the necessary officers. Indeed, the carer was told about the allegation before social workers had even had the chance to talk to the mother and children. The council later decided that no further action was necessary.
The mother then tried to take the complaint through the statutory three-stage complaints process, however, the council refused to take it to the second stage, despite them being obliged to by government guidance.
Dudley council has therefore been asked to apologize to the mother and pay her £200 and £200 to each child by way of compensation. The council must also look into the way it conducts its investigations into allegations.
To read the full article, please visit the Family Law Week’s website.