After failing to provide for an autistic teenager, the County Council of Hertfordshire in Southern England has agreed to pay a sum of £3,650 to his family. The inquiry led by local authorities and Social Care Ombudsman revealed that the county failed to provide the academic and social support needed by the teenager for about three years.
In addition to the compensation, the county council has also agreed to make an extra 24 hours of one-on-one support for the boy along with several policy changes following the investigation. As per the report published by the ombudsman, the teenager was left ‘without a significant proportion’ of the care and support that he was promised under his Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP). In conclusion of the report, the ombudsman said, “We have completed our investigation into this complaint. There was fault by the Council which caused injustice to (the complainant).”
As a part of his EHCP support, the autistic teenager was entitled to academic support for four hours after the completion of every half term. However, between September 2020 and July 2021, he received just three hours’ worth of support. He was also deprived of help with social skills and support for emotional wellbeing.
The loss of support left the boy distressed and socially isolated, causing low self-esteem, according to his mother. In his report, ombudsman Michael King also emphasized the importance of social and emotional support for the autistic teenager.
Speaking about the investigation and its scope, King said, “For many children and young people with autism spectrum conditions, emotional and social help can be just as important to their wellbeing as the academic assistance they should receive.” He further explained, “I am pleased the council has accepted the faults I have found during my investigation and hope the lengthy recommendations it will comply with should help this boy and others like him in the county.”
Follow this link for the original article and to download the ombudsman’s report.