Two local authorities have been slammed by the local government ombudsman for failures in their handling of allegations made against a foster carer.
In a report published yesterday, Dr Jane Martin, hit out at Peterborough Council and Lincolnshire Council for failing to communicate effectively to support foster carer Ms S after a child she had fostered made allegations about her two daughters.
Ms S was working as a foster carer for Peterborough Council and living in Lincolnshire Council’s area when in 2007 a child she had fostered made an allegation about her younger daughter, followed by a second allegation about her older daughter.
Peterborough Council suspended her as a foster carer while the allegations were investigated by Lincolnshire Council.
In 2008, Lincolnshire Council decided not to pursue the allegations further in May 2008 but did not make this clear to Ms S, or to Peterborough Council.
When Ms S complained to Lincolnshire Council, she was told Peterborough Council should have provided her with support. But Lincolnshire Council had failed to provide Peterborough Council with the information its officers wanted to make a comprehensive response.
Dr Martin said: “In my view, the most significant failing in this case is that the two councils did not communicate effectively with each other to agree how to work together, to ensure that Ms S was properly informed and supported during this intensely difficult period.”
She found there were delays in the investigation of the first allegation, and that the two authorities did not co-ordinate the provision of support and information for Ms S who had to wait over two years for information she could have been provided with in July 2007.
Both councils have agreed to pay £1,000 to Ms S as compensation for the “uncertainty and avoidable distress arising from the maladministration identified”, and a further £250 for her time and trouble in pursuing the complaint.
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