Mother awarded com­pen­sa­tion by coun­cil makes new com­plaint

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News -

A mother whose com­plaints against Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil’s han­dling of her child’s spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs re­sult­ing in a com­pen­sa­tion award of £5,000 were up­held has filed another com­plaint about the au­thor­ity.

Com­pen­sa­tion of £5,000 was paid out by the coun­cil af­ter two his­tor­i­cal com­plaints re­gard­ing a child with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs were up­held.

The coun­cil is­sued in­for­ma­tion about the case pub­lished by the Peter­bor­ough Telegraph - and fol­low­ing pub­li­ca­tion the au­thor­ity’s in­terim ser­vice di­rec­tor for ed­u­ca­tion, Terry Reynolds, is­sued a let­ter of apol­ogy for sev­eral in­ac­cu­ra­cies that had ap­peared in the in­for­ma­tion the city coun­cil re­leased.

The mother has subse- quently is­sued a com­plaint to IPSO (In­de­penednt Press Stan­dards Or­gan­i­sa­tion) against the coun­cil over its han­dling of the in­for­ma­tion re­lease and the PT for pub­lish­ing it.

She said that she was dis­mayed be­cause de­tail of one of her com­plaints re­leased by the coun­cil was in­cor­rect.

Them other said :“This has added to the frus­tra­tion and enor­mous dif­fi­cul­ties I have had when deal­ing with Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil.”

The de­tail of one of the com­plaints re­leased by the coun­cil said that it con­cerned the child’s tran­si­tion from pri­mary to sec­ondary school. How­ever, them other con­tacted us to say that this was not the case.

She added: “The sec­ond com­plaint was not about that tran­si­tion - in fact that tran­si­tion had been good and we were very happy with that, so you can imag­ine how we felt when that was re­leased, it gave com­pletely the wrong im­pres­sion .”

The first com­plaint up held against the coun­cil in­volved the fail­ure of the school, and lo­cal au­thor­ity to ex­plain the con­se­quences of the child be­ing taught out of year group, the child was then re­turned to his chrono­log­i­cal year group, missing an aca­demic year, the au­thor­ity then failed to en­sure the school car­ried out the tran­si­tion as per the child’s state­ment of spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional need, and th­ese com­plaints along with a large num­ber of oth­ers were up­held by an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tor com­mis­sioned by the au­thor­ity.

Com­plaint two was in fact made in Jan­uary 2016 and con­cerned the fail­ure of the lo­cal au­thor­ity to meet it statu­tory le­gal obli­ga­tions to com­plete an agreed Ed­u­ca­tion Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

In a sub­se­quent let­ter to the PT Mr Reynolds apol­o­gised for the er­rors in which he said: “Th­ese er­rors were caused by us pro­vid­ing in­com­plete in­for­ma­tion to the [Peter­bor­ough Telegraph’s] re­porter and have oc­ca­sioned fur­ther dis­tress to our orig­i­nal com­plainant, for which we would like to apol­o­gise.”

The mother in­volved also pointed out that the coun­cil said that it had paid £5,000 com­pen­sa­tion.

The com­pen­sa­tion was paid af­ter the com­plainant no­ti­fied the lo­cal au­thor­ity that she had in fact not been paid af­ter the ar­ti­cle stat­ing she had been was pub­lished.

The coun­cil’s orig­i­nal state­ment also said the com­plaints a rose fol­low­ing alet­ter to city coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Gil­lian Beasley in July 2015 but the mother said that she had in fact first com­plained in Septem­ber 2014 but the au­thor­ity had failed to record and in­ves­ti­gate the com­plaint when a very se­nior mem­ber of staff first be­came aware in 2014.

The mother added: “The in­for­ma­tion re­leased by the coun­cil was in­ac­cu­rate and left me more dis­tressed and frus­trated and their sec­ond at­tempt to cor­rect that in­for­ma­tion left me even more frus­trated.

“Deal­ing with Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil over a num­ber of years to re­solve th­ese is­sues has been dif­fi­cult and dis­tress­ing.

“I had not spent the pre­vi­ous two years work­ing for my com­plaints to be up­held for PCC to then pub­lish an ar­ti­cle with so many in­ac­cu­ra­cies. This makes what my child has gone through even more hard to bear. Par­tic­u­larly, when the school in­volved had con­cluded af­ter a panel hear­ing of nearly five­hours-which­in­cluded a city coun­cil­lor - that none of my com­plaints were up­held.

“For the in­ves­ti­ga­tor to then go on to up­hold some of the same com­plaints, and more, that Mrs Beasley per­son­ally apol­o­gised for on be­half of the lo­cal au­thor­ity, this is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble.”

Them other said :“Fam­i­lies in Peter­bor­ough ex­pect the pro­vi­sion as set out in state­ments of spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs and ECHP plans and noth­ing less is ac­cept­able.”

PT Edi­tor Mark Ed­wards said: “Ob­vi­ously we pub­lished the city coun­cil’s in­for­ma­tion re­lease in good faith.

“The er­ror was no tours but we apol­o­gise for any dis­tress it might have caused.”

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