Council criticised for housing ‘vulnerable’ teen in B&B

County Hall, PrestonCounty Hall, Preston
County Hall, Preston
A vulnerable teenager with significant behavioural problems was housed in a B&B by Lancashire County Council when his home life broke down.

The council’s decision has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), who said putting up a young person in a guest house was ‘inappropriate’.

The LGO was called in to look at the case after being contacted by the mother of the unnamed lad. LCC has been asked to apologise to her for not involving her in the assessment’s of the boy’s needs and for its handling of her complaint.

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The LGO said the teenager had complex behavioural, emotional and communication difficulties, used cannabis, and left the special school he had been attending in July 2013.

LCC put him in a B&B for five days, without carrying out a new needs assessment, when he was arrested and bailed by a court and had no relatives willing or able to take him in.

The LGO’s Dr Jane Martin, said: “Placing homeless young people in bed and breakfast accommodation, even in an emergency, breaches statutory guidance, which exists to ensure vulnerable young people are not left to cope unsupported and at risk of exploitation.”

The LGO made a series of recommendations which the council has accepted. An LCC spokesman said: “When young people are in danger of becoming homeless we do all we can to ensure they are kept safe, including arranging temporary accommodation to keep them off the streets.

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“Following on from the complaint, the LGO has recommended we review some of our processes. We have put together an action plan and are working with our partners to make the improvements they have suggested.”