Fostering. Looked after children. and SGOs
Upheld in whole or in part
Non-public interest report issued: complaint upheld
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Mr W complained that the Council failed to consider, pursue and progress a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) for him and his wife promptly after their granddaughter, R, moved into their care in December 2015. He also complained that the Council did not appropriately consider whether to offer Mr and Mrs W financial support from any time before the SGO had been awarded in February 2020.
The Ombudsman found that there were failures in communication with Mr and Mrs W around the implications of an SGO and the process. There was also a delay, after the Council was informed of Mr W’s intention to seek an SGO, before the process and relevant report were started. However, on balance, the report was completed promptly once it had begun. Although the process was then suspended part-way through, this was for reasons beyond the Council’s control and the process was progressed appropriately once it had resumed. The Ombudsman partially upheld this element of the complaint.
The Ombudsman found that adequate consideration was given to Mr and Mrs W’s financial circumstances initially, but that the Council did not appropriately consider whether to offer Mr and Mrs W financial support once the SGO process was resumed. It failed to consider evidence that Mr and Mrs W’s situation had changed and that this was causing financial difficulties. Finally, despite an assessment confirming that financial support was required, it did not fully consider the appropriate options for when payment could, and should, have begun. The Ombudsman upheld this element of the complaint.
The Council agreed to take actions to improve its communication practices and available information for families, about SGOs. It also agreed to apologise to Mr and Mrs W, to reconsider when the financial support payments should have begun and take appropriate steps to rectify any discrepancies between what should have been paid and what Mr and Mrs W received.