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Northumberland County Council ordered to apologize for failing to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect at children’s home UK News

Northumberland County Council has apologized after failing to properly investigate a complaint by an anonymous man over allegations of abuse and neglect in children’s homes.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman ordered the council to apologize after finding a ‘sufficiently independent and robust investigation’ into the complaint had not been carried out and said the council was ‘at fault’ for failing to investigate the complainant – known as Mr X – of concerns about the nursing homes he lived in.

The ombudsman’s report said failure to do so caused Mr X “avoidable distress”. The county council said “valuable lessons” had been learned from the investigation.

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The ombudsman’s report explains that Mr. X entered child care in the early 2000s, living first in foster care and then in several children’s homes before deciding to live with his mother again before his 18 years old. Mr. X lodged a complaint with the town hall. on his care throughout 2015 and 2018.

He said that throughout his time as a child in care, he was neglected, abused, not protected from harm, and poorly supported by counsel.

Following an investigation, the municipality found that it had failed to adequately protect Mr. X from risk while living with his family, and that his foster home – identified only as household A in the report of the mediator – was not suitable for his needs and that there was a “significant delay” in removing him from the house, with 15 months to remove him.

The investigator found that Mr X was “not overall adequately protected against potential risk or harm”, but that there was no fault in the behavior of staff in their attempts to care for him. him.

Other complaints, including serious allegations that the board exposed Mr. X to neglect and abuse, were dismissed. The complainant was unhappy with the finding, having previously said he wanted the council to investigate all organizations involved in his care, including the police, local fire and rescue services and Ofsted.

The council then received a letter stating that Mr. X intended to take legal action over allegations that he had exposed him to abuse and neglect, although the report of the ombudsman noted that he had not yet taken any further action.

The ombudsman’s findings said that although there was “no evidence to suggest that the investigation was not thorough enough or that the council hindered it by providing falsified records”, the investigation did not did not take into account the part of Mr. X’s complaint concerning the accommodation in which he stayed after house A. .

With the council failing to explain the reasons for its omission, the ombudsman said the authority was at fault and ’caused Mr X avoidable distress’. However, due to the time that had elapsed since the problems and the fact that Mr. X intended to seek compensation through legal proceedings, the ombudsman said he would not reopen the investigation.

He added that the ombudsman cannot make “findings of negligence” like a court can.

The report added that the upheld complaints “appropriately remedy the injustice to Mr. X and are appropriate to prevent the misconduct from happening again”, and agreed that the board should apologize for failing to investigate the complaints. concerns about children’s homes.

Cath McEvoy-Carr, executive director of adult social care and children’s services at Northumberland County Council, insisted lessons had been learned from the issue.

She said: “Safeguarding the well-being of our vulnerable residents is paramount and we take any complaints about the services we provide very seriously.

“In this case, we accept the Ombudsman’s findings and have apologized to the complainant for the shortcomings identified in the investigation of the complaint and the distress this has caused.

“Our practices have evolved significantly since this complaint was filed with valuable lessons learned and we will continue to ensure that all complaints are investigated to the highest standards.”