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Ombudsman: Council showed family 'disrespect'

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has accused the Council of the Isles of Scilly of showing "disrespect" in its dealings with a local family.

It criticised the Authority for failing to comply with recommendations made in a report last year, prompting the Ombudsman to take the "rare" step of sending a further report.

The first report, issued in August 2017 but not published over fears the family might be identified, found the Council at fault and the Ombudsman recommended it provide a number of remedies to the family.

The Council was given three months to comply with the recommendations, but has failed to do so, resulting in the second report.

Issuing a further report is one of the ways the Ombudsman holds Local Authorities to account by highlighting their failings publicly. This is the first time since 2016 the Ombudsman has had to take such a step.

The Council has also been ordered to pay the family in question an additional £250 for the "injustice" of the Ombudsman having to issue a further report.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Michael King said: "While I appreciate the Council is in a difficult position with regards to Members discussing the original report in public, the Council still needs to keep the communication channels open with my office and confirm its intended actions.

“Since we chased the Council about its response to the initial report it has - albeit belatedly - sent an apology to the family and provided part of the financial remedy recommended.

“The Council’s failure to respond properly to the original report has shown a great deal of disrespect to the family, and can have only compounded their sense of injustice. I am disappointed it took prompting and the threat of this further report for the Council to provide part of the remedy it had previously agreed.

"It still needs to provide evidence it has complied with other aspects of the original recommendations, including for their loss of services, which were clearly set out in the original report and have remained consistent throughout our regular correspondence with the Council.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman remedies injustice and shares learning from investigations to improve local public, and adult social care, services.


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