09/08/2011

Hull Council 'Failed To Protect Children'

Hull City Council has been strongly criticised for failing to tackle concerns about the safety of a brother and sister, which could have had "very serious consequences", a report said.

The report by the Local Government Ombudsman said that the children's aunt had raised concerns over their safety of the children - a 14-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister - suggesting that they were at risk because their mother's partner suffered from mental illness and was violent.

The report found that the aunt had first contacted authorities about the children in January 2007. Social workers had visited the family home, but the report found that their assessment did not include any information from the mother's partner's mental health worker.

The report also detailed another occasion when a trainee social worker failed to undertake a follow-up visit to the home, when further concerns were expressed, and denied meeting with the aunt and other social workers.

The report also identified an occasion when the boy had been threatened with a knife, but the council had still failed to take action.

The Ombudsman, Anne Seex, said: "In the context of child protection, these failures could have had very serious consequences."

She said that the council's failure to respond to the concerns had resulted in the children's aunt feeling like she had no alternative but to take the children, without receiving any financial support.

The recommendations of the report were that the aunt should receive £7.665, a quarter of the sum she would have received as a carer allowance for the time the children lived with her and that a review should be launched to determine whether such failures could occur again.

(KMcA/BMcC)

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