THE county council was required to pay out more than £10,000 by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, following complaints about children’s services.

A total of 38 new complaints – relating to the council’s provision of children’s social care or education – were made to the ombudsman in 2019/20.

A decision by the ombudsman was taken ‘not to investigate’ almost half of those complaints – and 13 are still being considered.

But the ombudsman has already determined that the county council was at some fault in seven cases.

And in addition the ombudsman has found some fault in a further fives cases, that were put the year before but not determined.

As a result, in total, the council has had to make payments of £10,870 in 2019/20 – which is significantly higher than the £550 the year before.

And the outcomes were reported to a meeting of the county council’s children and young people cabinet panel on Tuesday (September 15).

According to the report to the cabinet panel: “Complaints with fault identified saw a total of £10,870 being awarded, in recognition to fault, injustice, distress or time and trouble.

“This is a significant increase compared with the previous year, when the total amount awarded was £550.

“The main themes of these complaints were related to delays in issuing Education & Health Care Plans (EHCPs); education provision and issues regarding risk assessments.

“The large compensation payments mainly related to children out of education for long periods.

“Following LGSCO decisions, action plans are developed and robustly monitored by the Complaints Manager to ensure that they are completed in time and learning undertaken.”