Vulnerable Lancashire siblings 'not given support'

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Lancashire County Council has been criticised by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for not providing the right support for two vulnerable siblings when they moved to live with their aunt and uncle.

The siblings, who had a turbulent background and had spent time in foster care, became subject to a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) when they moved to live with their relatives in another area.

Their uncle initially complained to the Ombudsman in 2016 about the lack of support provided by the council, after it became apparent both children had significant needs, and the family would need specialist support and respite because of their past experiences.

LCC agreed to a number of recommendations to put things right. However, by February 2018 the uncle returned his complaint to the Ombudsman, as many of the agreed remedies had still not been implemented.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “People can only have confidence in their councils if they honour their commitments.

"In this case the council’s lack of urgency in carrying out its promises within a reasonable time frame has undermined the family’s trust, and calls into question its willingness to accept fault and put things right.

"This is particularly important in cases such as this where vulnerable children are involved.

"I now urge Lancashire council to act swiftly and complete the recommendations they agreed in 2016 and those I have now made to improve both the family’s situation and others who complain about its services.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "We are very sorry for the distress our failings have caused and we have apologised fully to the person involved and their family.

"We accept the actions recommended by the Local Government Ombudsman and have drawn up an action plan to address the shortcomings identified in the report."