Council criticised over failings in care for autistic children

Local Government Ombudsman asks council to pay compensation to single mother left struggling to care for two autistic children with no support for over a year

A single mother with two autistic children was left ‘distressed’ and ‘outraged’ after her local authority failed to provide the daily care she needed for more than a year.

A report by the Local Government Ombudsman found “serious” failings by Lambeth council, which failed to provide the family with the daily care and respite care they were entitled to.

“The effect of the council’s failures was serious,” said ombudsman Dr Jane Martin. “The children’s mother was caused additional work in caring for her children alone by the loss of daily care and respite care to which she was entitled,” she said.

The failings occurred when the council did not write care plans for the children or update its core assessmens, the ombudsman’s investigation found.

But the authority also failed to provide respite care for more than 15 months after it should have, did not deal with the mother’s complaint in a timely fashion and was unable to present a remedy when its own complaints process identified faults.

Lambeth council has been asked to pay the family £19,469 in compensation and make a number of changes to avoid similar problems in the future.

These include writing care plans for the children and carrying out fresh core assessments, as well as considering whether other service users have been affected by the same failings.

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