Cheshire County Council failed child ‘comprehensively and spectacularly’

1 Jul 09
Cheshire County Council is the latest local authority brought to book over a childcare failure
By Alex Klaushofer

July 1, 2009

Cheshire County Council is the latest local authority brought to book over a childcare failure. The council failed ‘comprehensively and spectacularly’ in its duty to a child in its care, the local government ombudsman has found.

An investigation into the care of L, now aged 20, published on July 1, found that despite being in the council’s care since 2002, she never attended secondary school.

L was prevented by her mother from attending school and subsequently made a complaint to the council with the help of the National Youth Advocacy Service.

The ombudsman Anne Seex said that the council ‘failed, comprehensively and spectacularly, to fulfil its responsibilities for the child or to promote her welfare.

‘L was and is capable of achieving a level of education and qualifications that could make a very significant difference to her earning potential. The injustice caused to L by the council’s maladministration is long term and enduring.’

The chief executive officer of the National Youth Advocacy Service, Elena Fowler, said that the outcome was ‘evidence of the plain fact that above all else, children and young people want to be recognised and valued’.

The ombudsman recommended that Cheshire East Council, which has succeeded the county council as the unitary authority for the area, apologise to L, agree a plan for delivering its previous commitments to her, and pay her £45,000 in compensation.

A spokeswoman for Cheshire East Council said: ‘Cheshire East and Chester West and Chester Councils are considering the findings and recommendations of the ombudsman in respect of maladministration in the case of a young person who was cared for by Cheshire County Council.’

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