Council which failed to return child to family for years ordered to apologise

South Ayrshire Council was found to have 'unreasonably delayed' assessing a kinship care application

South Ayrshire Council ordered to apologise after it failed to return child to family for years iStock

A council which failed to return a child to their family for years has been ordered to apologise and provide an explanation for the delay after a complaint.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) upheld a complaint against South Ayrshire Council after the local authority’s health and social care partnership “unreasonably delayed” assessing a kinship care application.

The complainant, only identified as C, lodged a complaint with the SPSO on behalf of their relative, identified as A in the decision hearing.

C said that A’s child, B, had been removed from A’s care and following a short period of kinship care by B’s grandparent, they were placed with foster carers. 

C and their partner applied to be B’s kinship carers as soon as B was taken into care. However, they were not made B’s kinship carers until several years later.

The complainant said that the partnership had “unreasonably delayed in assessing their kinship care application” and that there had also been failures to facilitate B’s contact with their family, to address concerns about B’s foster carers, to provide them with support following B’s kinship care placement and to provide specified information. 

In an investigation, the council accepted that there had been delay in assessing B’s kinship care and identified learning from this, but did not identify any other service failures. 

After taking independent advice from a social work advisor, the SPSO said it found that there had been a failure to progress the kinship care placement timeously and to take reasonable steps to facilitate B’s family contacts. 

Additionally it found that there had been a failure to provide specified information and the SPSO upheld these complaints. 

However, it did not uphold the complaints that there had not been a failure to address concerns about B’s foster carers or to provide C with support following B’s kinship care placement. 

The council was asked to apologise to C and their family for the failings identified and provide an explanation on why there had been undue delays in completing B’s kinship care assessment and/or information about the findings/recommendations and actions taken from the CSWO review. 

South Ayrshire Council was asked to provide the SPSO with evidence that it had implemented the recommendations made on the case.

A spokesperson for the South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “The Health and Social Care Partnership have accepted the findings of the SPSO decision report. This matter relates to practice between 2016 – 2020, which the HSCP have acknowledged was unacceptable. We have apologised to the family for these historical delays and have invested in significant improvements in our Kinship processes since this time.

“These improvements include investment in the creation of a Kinship Team and improving governance arrangement on time scales. In addition, the implementation of a new model of practice ‘Signs of Safety’ and ‘The Promise’ ensures that families and children are at the centre of decision making, meaning wherever possible, children are kept safe and within loving relationships which are important to them.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in