Council criticised over delay in boy’s SEN statement

A local authority has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman for failing to issue a timely SEN statement to a boy with learning disabilities

A boy with learning difficulties was left waiting for a statement of his special educational needs for over a year due to “unreasonable delays” at his local authority.

An investigation by Local Government Ombudsman Dr Jane Martin found Haringey council delayed “unreasonably” in the boy’s case, taking more than twice the time recommended by the national code of practice – no longer than 26 weeks between the request for an assessment and the issue of a final statement of special educational needs (SEN).

The investigation found there were delays in seeking information from professionals needed to conduct the assessment and in providing the child with a laptop, as required by his statement.

The boy’s mother made a complaint but was prevented from appealing to the Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal as soon as she should have been able to.

This is likely to have delayed the naming of an independent residential special school in the child’s statement, the ombudsman’s investigation found.

The ombudsman found maladministration at the council, which caused injustice to the child and his family, and recommended a number of actions for Haringey.

The authority has agreed to apologise to the child and reimburse his mother £994.60 for fees she incurred and £200 for the delay in providing a laptop. 

The council will also review its procedures for carrying out assessments for children with special educational needs in the future.

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