Kent County Council failed to provide proper support to a working mother, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has declared.
The mother of two disabled teenagers received benefits from the local authority. She had wanted to spend these payments on childcare during the school holidays so she could work instead of waiting in to look after her youngest child when he returned from residential school.
But the council had refused to allow this, doing so without any assessment of her family’s circumstances.
She complained to the LGO and received a declaration in her favour. The council had put in place a “blanket restriction” and not properly supported her double role as carer and working mother, Dr Jane Martin concluded.
The Ombudsman wrote:
“Government guidance is very clear that authorities should give consideration to carers who want to work. Councils won’t necessarily have to provide additional support, but they do need to assess people’s individual situations properly. In this case Kent County Council applied a blanket policy and did not consider the rather unique circumstances of this family.”
The Council’s attitude had caused the mother a significant amount of stress, leaving her eeling she was “constantly in a battle” and affecting her health
Kent County Council agreed to pay the mother £1,000 in compensation and revise its benefit and social care policies.