Ombudsman recommends one of highest payouts ever

One of the highest requests for a pay out from the local
government ombudsman has been made against the social services
department of Leeds Council, writes Helen

The council was asked to pay a foster family £57,000 in
compensation after it unlawfully removed a foster child with
learning difficulties from their care in 2002.

The family were forced to fight a nine-month battle against the
council as they sought to have the boy returned to them, until the
courts eventually granted a residence order.

After reviewing the case, the local ombudsman, Patricia Thomas,
said that in some areas there were “astonishing”
shortcomings in the council’s treatment of the family.

Pointing to a “lack of clarity” about social
workers’ and fostering and adoption officers’ roles,
she recommended the council undertake a review of those

The council said it had accepted the findings and was carrying
out a review at the ombudman’s request.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Ombudsman said the
“high amount” reflected the seriousness of the case,
and with most complaints resulting in a request for compensation of
hundreds rather than thousands of pounds.

Rosemary Archer, director of social services, said that although
the review was still underway, “significant changes”
had been made to its fostering and adoption services in the past

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