Court backs boy over absence of care plan

The London Borough of Newham failed in its statutory duty of care
towards a severely disabled teenager, a High Court judge declared
last week.

Mr Justice Ousley ordered that a draft pathway plan outlining what
would happen to the boy once he turned 18 be drawn up by 5 October
and a completed plan sent to his solicitors by 12 October.

The declaration came as the council’s social services department
admitted it had breached its duties to the boy, who cannot be

Representing the social services department, Gareth Flemyng said
that a proper pathway plan had not been completed and criticised
aspects of the way the case had been dealt with.

“We have in the past promised to deliver and we have not delivered
adequately and I would like to review why that has happened, how
that has happened and make sure it does not happen again,” he

The boy, who has cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour care and
one-to-one supervision, lives in a children’s home in Hornchurch,
Essex. He was taken into care after being found neglected when
police raided his parents’ home for drugs.

Laura Gibbons, from Mencap’s advocacy service in Newham, which is
helping the boy, said the case highlighted the difficulties faced
by young people with learning difficulties in gaining access to
their rights.

At an earlier hearing, another judge criticised Newham’s
“regrettable attitude that nothing gets done until the last

A spokesperson for the council said the pathway plan would be
produced by 5 October as agreed.

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