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Shropshire Council told to apologise over child protection complaint

By Andrew Morris | Shrewsbury | Politics | Published: | Last Updated:

Shropshire Council has been told to apologise after it failed to carry out a child protection investigation properly.

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The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said the council failed to deal with a stage two child protection investigation properly.

The council has been told to apologise to those affected and pay £150.

The complaint came about when a woman known only as Mrs X complained about the way the council dealt with a child protection investigation.

No details of the nature of the complaint have been released due to confidentiality rules.

She also complained about the conduct and attitude of social care staff throughout the process.

In his final report, the Ombudsman said: “Mrs X complained to the council in February 2019 about the way the council dealt with a child protection investigation.

“She also complained about the conduct and attitude of social care staff throughout the process.

“The matters Mrs X complained about were considered by the council under the children’s statutory complaints procedure.

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“The council responded to the complaint at stage one, in March 2019 and met with Mrs X to discuss her concerns further.

“Mrs X said the council had failed to fully investigate her complaint, showed a disregard for policy and its conclusions were not evidence based.

“On April 3, Mrs X asked for her complaint to be escalated to stage three.

“On April 12, the council said it had not yet investigated her complaint at stage two but refused to do so on the basis that it could not achieve the outcomes that Mrs X wanted.”

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Disregard

The Ombudsman added: “Mrs X said that the council’s stage one response had not fully addressed her concerns.

“She said that there had been a disregard for policy and that the conclusions reached by the council were not evidence based.

“Although the council decided that it could not achieve the outcomes Mrs X wanted, it failed to consider whether the concerns that she continued to raise should be investigated at stage two.

“I have found the council to be at fault in its decision not to investigate Mrs X’s complaint at stage two, when she requested this.

“As a result, it failed to ensure that the issues of complaint were properly considered.

“This is fault. Because of this there has also been a considerable delay in investigating and responding to Mrs X’s complaint. This is fault.

“The faults identified have caused Mrs X uncertainty, and avoidable stress and anxiety.”

Shropshire Council has agreed to the Ombudsman’s recommendations and within four weeks will arrange a second stage investigation immediately into Mrs X’s complaint; apologise to Mrs X for failing to respond to her complaint under the statutory complaints procedure and therefore failing to ensure her complaint was properly considered and for the uncertainty this has caused her.

It will also pay Mrs X £150 for the avoidable delay, stress and anxiety caused by the missed opportunity to seek a stage two investigation into her complaint.

Andrew Morris

By Andrew Morris
Local Democracy Reporter - @AndyMorrisLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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