Upheld in whole or in part
Non-public interest report issued: complaint upheld
Powys County Council
Mr A raised safeguarding concerns about his son and a School within the Council’s area. He complained that the Council did not investigate the family’s complaint against the Board of Governors properly or in a timely manner and did not provide an appropriate response. He also complained that communication with the family by the Council was inaccurate and misleading, the Council did not provide appropriate oversight and/or guidance to the School in relation to the handling of complaints, and the Council did not discharge its safeguarding duties appropriately or in a timely manner.
The Ombudsman found that the Council did not provide appropriate oversight and/or guidance to the School in relation to the handling of complaints. It found that no one took responsibility for ensuring that the investigation into a safeguarding allegation was being progressed by the Governing Body in a timely manner nor for keeping Mr A regularly updated over a significant length of time. The failure to keep Mr A updated caused frustration and distress and led to Mr A having to spend time chasing for updates over a prolonged period of time. This was unacceptable and an injustice to him, Mrs A and their son, B. The Ombudsman upheld this aspect of the complaint.
The Ombudsman found that the Council investigated the family’s complaint against the Governing Body properly and in a timely manner and provided an appropriate response. It also found that communication with the family was not inaccurate and misleading and that it did discharge its safeguarding duties appropriately and in a timely manner. The Ombudsman did not uphold these aspects of the complaint.
The Council agreed to, within 1 month, apologise to Mr A, and make a financial redress payment of £500. It also agreed to review its current process and consider amending the process to include appointing a Council Single Point of Contact for complainants when the Council is overseeing the handling of a complaint by a Governing Body.