City of York Council has been ordered to pay a fine and review its procedures around care leavers’ transitions into adulthood after a complaint was upheld.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) said the council was at fault for the way it handled a teenage boy’s move into adult services and for the way it handled the complaint.
The boy, who had a history of mental health issues and substance misuse, was unable to live at home and so was being accommodated by the council in a residential placement by a children’s care provider, though this was in a neighbouring council authority.
Councils should work to plan a young person’s transition between children and adult services when they are between 16-18 years old.
A couple with parental responsibility for the boy said the way the council handled this caused them and the boy distress and affected his health during 2020 and 2021.
The LGSCO said the council did take some appropriate action to prepare the boy for the transition from children’s to adult services, but that there were faults in some areas.
It should also have handled the complaint better, the ombudsman said.
A LGSCO report stated: “The council has apologised to Mrs X for poor complaint handling.
“In addition, we have now investigated the complaint, so there is no ongoing injustice.
“However, the failure to use the correct procedure caused Mr and Mrs X and Y frustration and uncertainty and time and trouble bringing her complaint to us.
“The council should review its procedures to ensure complaints about children’s services are appropriately investigated under the children’s statutory procedure.”
The council has been ordered to pay £300 each to the couple and the boy, as well as reviewing its procedures.
In a separate LGSCO decision issued this week, the council apologised for a delay in making changes to a woman’s council tax.
The woman had complained the council failed to award her a single person discount and council tax support.