Southend apology over Down’s case A young adult with Down’s
syndrome receiving care from Southend Council spent eight months in
a secure psychiatric unit even though his mental health was
The council’s failure to provide adequate care caused the Local
Government Ombudsman to conclude last week that it had caused the
man, now 22, and his family to “suffer terribly”.
The council has agreed to pay £35,000 compensation to the
family for two years of inappropriate placements.
It admitted its handling of the case had been “unacceptable” and
apologised for the distress caused.
The man is now “thriving” in a more appropriate placement, the
The council had placed him in the secure unit after an
unsuitable placement caused his behaviour to “deteriorate
dramatically” and he became a danger to himself and others.
But his behaviour was not caused by mental health issues and the
council moved him to the psychiatric unit without the consent of
his parents, a retired couple with health problems who adopted him
as a baby.
In another judgement, the ombudsman said Suffolk Council had
failed to take appropriate and prompt action to protect a man’s
children from harm.
Two of the sons were placed in temporary foster care but one was
returned to his mother without proper planning and in circumstances
that put him at risk.
The council said its service to children and families was under
“constant review” and had “continued to improve” since the failings
identified by the ombudsman.
It has agreed to pay £5,000 in compensation, subject to
approval by its standards committee.