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Social workers lost track of disabled girl for four years

Social workers from Birmingham City Council lost track of a now teenage girl with complex learning difficulties for four years.

The girl was identified by social workers in November 2006 at the age of seven. Her problems included autism, dyspraxia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Her mother was offered ten hours of support per week

However, according to a report by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO),  the council then lost contact with the family until March 2011, Social workers then failed to properly assess the family’s current needs properly, not completing out three separate assessments.

The girl’s mother, a single parent, then complained to the LGO and the council promised a further assessment, but this was also not carried out. By the time the girl turned 15 last year, she had developed physical impairments and needed help with washing and dressing.

The Council has now agreed to pay the mother £5,000 in compensation for the failures and the time she spent complaining to the Ombudsman.

A spokesperson for the council said: “We have made improvements to our procedures, including increased senior management oversight and an updated system for responding to complaints, including the tracking of any follow-up action and gathering customer feedback. We have also put in place further staff training to improve quality of single assessments.”

Dr Jane Martin of the LGO said:

“For much of this girl’s life, her mother has been left to bring up her child alone and without much help from the council. Birmingham City Council has had no idea what her needs were or those of her mother. And when they made attempts to assess her, the council admits its service was poor, unsupportive and not focused on an outcome for the girl.”

She added:

“The council has failed to provide me with evidence that it knows what this girl’s needs are, what her mother’s needs are as a carer and how those needs can be met in the future. It has singularly failed to assess the family’s needs and cannot possibly say that the direct payments it has offered to the family are sufficient.”

Photo of Victoria Square in Birmingham by Cristian Bortes via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

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  1. Caz says:

    My advice to this mother is to Google charities and contact one that deals with her daughters condition, she will be amazed at the help she will be offered and believe me a Charity called the Rescue Foundation for brain damaged children were our salvation in a time of need, we contacted them underhandedly against threats, I truly believe without their help and advice my Grandson would not be the young man he is to-day

  2. Andrew says:

    My advice to this mother . . . well, Marilyn, you would moderate it out. And rightly.

    • Caz says:

      Not much faith in Charities then Andrew, or have you been lucky enough not to have ever needed help when the state refuses to listen/cover-up your cry for help. One question: Charities only exist because of public support, Why are there so many thriving on public donations?

  3. Andrew says:

    Caz: My advice would have concerned the Council and would have been unprintable!

    • Anon1 says:


      Hopefully it would have gone something along the lines of extreme ineptitude and incompetence. At the very least those are my thoughts on the matter.

      • Andrew says:

        Something on those lines. In shorter words of Anglo-Saxon origin.

        If I ever own a brewery and don’t want a p*ss-up running in it I will phone Birmingham City Council and get them on the job.

  4. Tristan says:

    Councils ought to concentrate on matters they might, just might, be reasonably good at in delivering a public service, like filling potholes and keeping public libraries open. Why does the law insist on councils looking after “Children in Need” when they are patently unfit and unable to handle the responsibility properly? Some other solution is required.

  5. Caz says:

    @ Tristan
    Your Local Authority, as is all Local Authorities Child Care Departments are run by a local outside company of solicitors (ring your local childcare department and ask for this solicitors name then you will know who is in charge) It is this firm of solicitors that drum up the business for local solicitors, or in some cases as in ours Act for the Local Authority, Act for the Child and employ the services of their choice of Guardian, some independece???????????????

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