Surrey Council Slapped With £12,000 Fine For Failing Autistic Child

Surrey Council Slapped With £12,000 Fine For Failing Autistic Child

By Gavin Mackintosh-

Surrey council has been slapped with a £12,000 fine  by the Ombudsman, after a report concluded that the local authority did not properly assess the needs of the family with an autistic child.

The council had only began to provide appropriate accommodation for the child after the family  began legal action against the council,  the eye of have heard.

The finding by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman was revealed to the eye of by a freelance journalist from the area at a random NUJ meeting at Kings Cross two Mondays ago.  The council has since not responded to a request for comment.

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The parents of the child first sought help in 2009, after their six year old son displayed violence against his other siblings and injured them on occasions. However, their requests produced no results, leading them to request the council to consider its complaint at “stage two”. This involves an investigation led by someone independent of the council.

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Instead of considering the request, the council offered them money. The offer was declined, and  the family insisted that the Ombudsman consider te complaint at stage two. The council then complied, and  the stage two investigator then upheld 23 complaints made against Surrey CountyCouncil.

The upheld  complaints  included:The lack of support between October 2009 and July 2011 and subsequent delays in providing it. The impact on the son of not having the proper support package.The impact on the family’s other children, who fell victim to their brother’s violent behaviour. The distress caused to the parents as a result of having to ask the council to accommodate their son

Later that year the boy’s behaviour had deteriorated as he soiled and wet himself on a number of occasions

A paediatrician described his behaviour as “taking the form of sudden, uncontrolled aggression”.

SCC wrote to the paediatrician to explain the boy did not meet its criteria for support. On one occasion, the boy was seen hanging from a window in the school, the Ombudsman was told.

In January 2012, the family requested the council not to bring  the boy back home because they could no longer cope, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said. The boy was  accommodated  in a specialist children’s home, where he lived for almost 18 months


The family believed was under the impression that the  placement, was temporary, and asked their son to be accommodated in a 52-week residential school placement long before he was sent to the care home.

It was only after the parents threatened the council with legal action in 2013 that the council made arrangements to send the boy to a residential special school, where  his behaviour improved notably. The story shows how reckless councils can be in their conduct, but this time their reckless actions was thoroughly punished.

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