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Watchdog tells county council to review its complaints handling process
8:50am Tuesday 17th September 2013 in Local
WORCESTERSHIRE County Council failed to follow up a valid children’s safeguarding referral for seven weeks, it has been revealed.
The Local Government Ombudsman has issued a report into the failing by the county council and its complaints handling process, after being contacted by the children’s grandfather.
The man complained that not only had the council not followed up concerns about his grandchildren’s safety, but that when he complained his complaint was stalled.
The watchdog found that the council’s failure to follow up the man’s safeguarding referral left the children subject to an unassessed risk after they witnessed a violent incident in their home at the beginning of August 2011.
At the time of the man’s referral, the council agreed that a healthcare worker would visit the family to check on the children.
However, by late September 2011 nobody had visited the family or checked on the welfare of the children.
It took until September 2012 for the council to accept it had been at fault in failing to follow up the man’s concerns, some 13 months after the man first requested an official investigation into his complaint.
Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman said:
“I am particularly concerned that Worcestershire County Council still maintains its complaint handling process is in line with other local authorities when in fact it breaches statutory guidance.
“This is why I am calling for the council to review its process to ensure it fully complies with statutory guidance.”
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