Dorset

Dorset council payout for autistic boy with no school

Councillor Beryl Ezzard (left) Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Councillor Beryl Ezzard (left) told the meeting she knew of three similar cases

A council must pay thousands of pounds to a boy with autism after he was left without proper education for two years.

The former Dorset County Council failed to find a suitable placement for the boy who was unable to stay in secondary school, an ombudsman's report revealed.

A meeting of Dorset Council's cabinet was told the boy had suffered "life-changing injustice" and his future prospects had been affected.

Councillors have now approved a review of eight other cases.

The report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said the boy, known as child C, had been unable to cope with mainstream secondary school but between 2017 and 2019 the county council had been unable to find him a suitable educational placement.

The boy's father said he had been left isolated at home, leading to an increase in his anxiety and damage to his confidence.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The boy's father said he was left isolated at home

A ruling of maladministration leading to injustice was made against the former council, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The ombudsman's recommendations included the allocation of £4,000 towards the funding of child C's education, £1,000 to the boy for the distress its actions caused and £300 to each of his parents.

Tuesday's cabinet meeting was told eight previous ombudsman investigations into the authority's failure to issue care plans or arrange provision indicated wider systemic problems and a review was needed to ensure these had been addressed.

Councillor Beryl Ezzard said she had come across three cases in her ward which had not been resolved after parents' complaints.

"A lack of schooling for any child is reprehensible," she said.

Education councillor Andrew Parry said the council had apologised and the report's findings were already being acted on.

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