Gloucestershire County Council in £3K compensation payout over foster boy's Christmas phone call
SOCIAL workers upset a boy in foster care by phoning his mum to see if he could visit at Christmas while he was present, a meeting behind closed doors was told.
Gloucestershire County Council is gagged from talking about the case but the Gloucester Citizen understands the child was upset by the actions of the social workers, which cost the council £3,000 in compensation. The Local Government Ombudsman found the council guilty of maladministration, along with another local authority.
Press and public weren't allowed to hear the discussion about the case at the last full council meeting on September 4 and it is believed some councillors were left unhappy at the exclusion.
They wanted the discussion to be held in open session, with only information which would have identified the boy withheld.
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Details on the case were taken away from all in the meeting before it ended.
"It's ridiculous," said one council insider, who did not wish to be named.
"They just put a blanket exclusion down which indicated the council had something to hide – in fact, although it was a serious case, it was just a mistake that was made and those involved will learn from it.
"It could have quite easily be held in open session with all names and anything that would have led to the identity of those involved being revealed."
Legal reasons mean the ombudsman's report does not name or identify the parties in the case, and the ombudsman won't publish the report which means the council has to follow suit.
The report stated there was maladministration and injustice caused by the county council by the episode. The council accepted the findings of the report, apologised, and made a one-off compensation payment to the victim of £3,000.
The council says it will review relevant policies, procedures and staff training.
Chief operating officer Duncan Jordan said: "For legal reasons, and in keeping with the wishes of the ombudsman, we are unable to give any details of this specific case. However the issues raised have been fully addressed.
"Overall, complaints against the county council dropped significantly last year, but we won't be complacent and we are working hard to continue to improve the quality of the service that local people receive."