Girl gets £10k payout after Lambeth Council fails as 'corporate parent'
8:00am Tuesday 8th May 2012 in Latest News
A father has won more than £10,000 from Lambeth Council after it failed to provide services he claimed may have meant his severely disabled 12-year-old daughter could walk again.
The Local Government Ombudsman ruled the council failed to act as a “corporate parent” to the girl and left “significant gaps” in providing physiotherapy as set out in her special educational needs (SEN) requirement.
The girl, who has severe learning difficulties, epilepsy, visual impairment and mobility difficulties, is dependent on carers for daily living.
She was entitled to regular one-to-one physiotherapy and hydrotherapy as set out in her SEN, but Lambeth left “significant gaps in providing the physiotherapy, totalling 24 months”, the Ombudsman ruled.
The Ombudsman said: “This meant it was not possible to align the mutually beneficial therapies as was intended, leaving the father uncertain whether his daughter would now be able to walk if they had been provided consistently.” The Ombudsman said Surrey Council also failed to ensure regular therapy was carried out.
Both Councils agreed to the Ombudsman’s recommendation to pay compensation – Lambeth £10,450 and Surrey Council £900 - “to reflect the loss of provision and the uncertainty as to whether the possibility of independent mobility for the girl may have been lost, as her father contends”.
The Ombudsman said: “As a result, [the girl] was disadvantaged by the spasmodic delivery of the mutually beneficial treatments.”
The statement added: “Her father suffered a great deal of distress and outrage, had to take time and trouble pursuing this complaint and is uncertain whether, had the treatment been delivered consistently and coherently, his daughter would now be able to walk.”
Lambeth council has apologised to the family.
A spokesman said: “The delays highlighted in the Ombudsman’s report in providing specified treatments were unacceptable, and something we view with utmost seriousness.
“We would like to assure the wider public that lessons have been learned from this case and where required, changes have been made.”