By Connie Osborne Friday 27 September 2013 Updated: 30/09 19:08
CHILDREN were left ‘at risk’ after Worcestershire County Council failed to follow up a grandfather’s concerns for seven weeks.
A report released this month revealed the man called the council at the beginning of August 2011 after his grandchildren witnessed a violent incident in their home which involved him, other family members and the children’s birth father.
But despite agreeing to send a healthcare worker out to visit the family and check on the children, by late September that year nobody had been out.
He subsequently complained to Worcestershire County Council but it took until September 2012 - 13 months after the request for an official investigation in to his complaint was made - for the council to accept it had been at fault in failing to follow up his concerns.
He then complained to the Local Government Ombudsman who found the council’s failure to follow up the man’s referral left the children subject to an unassessed risk.
Dr Jane Martin said: “I am particularly concerned that Worcestershire County Council still maintains its complaint handling process is in line with other local authorities when in fact it breaches statutory guidance.”
The man accepted an offer of £250 as a remedy for the difficulties he faced in progressing his complaint.
Worcestershire County Council has been asked to pay an additional £750 made up of £500 for the unnecessary anxiety and delay in following up a valid safeguarding referral and £250 for his time and trouble in having to approach the LGO.
A council spokesman said: “We accept the findings from the Ombudsman’s investigation and acknowledge the delay in dealing with both the initial referral and subsequent complaint is unacceptable.
“The county council will now review its complaints procedure in line with the statutory guidance from the LGO.”
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