In this particular case, the family have had ongoing issues with the quantification of Occupational Therapy and consequent delivery of the therapy, since 2014. Due to this, the young person made a complaint to the Ombudsman, and the decision has recently been released.
The Ombudsman felt that in 2014, the family could have appealed the content of the statement at the time so does not feel the council is ‘at fault’ for this section of the complaint.
In 2016 it was determined that OT was necessary, but was not written in to the new EHC plan specifically enough.
The local authority agreed provision specifics before the hearing. The hearing went ahead to settle a few matters, regarding communication between family, young person, OT.
The tribunal ruled that the the young person should be able to liaise directly with the OT (not family to liaise with OT). This clearly made it difficult for the young person to access, but this is part of a different complaint made by the family so is not discussed here.
In any event, the consent order was breached, as the LA did not make it possible for the young person to be able to contact the OT to arrange provision. Therefore, provision was not put in place following the tribunal.
Conclusions: The ombudsman found the council at fault for failing to abide by the consent order and the spirit of the Tribunal Order. This was found to be exceptionally frustrating for the young person, particularly after he went to the trouble of appealing to the Tribunal to achieve an agreement with the Council about OT provision. It has also meant the young person missed out on OT support.
The Council has accepted this and it has agreed to make a financial payment of £900 to the young person to compensate for the loss of OT support and to apologise for its actions.
Next blog to come: Post-16 and family involvement when a young person is deemed to have mental capacity.
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