A mum suffered ‘avoidable distress’ after comments she made about her son’s education, health and care plan (ECHP) were ignored by Buckinghamshire Council.

The unitary authority agreed to pay her £500 and apologise to the family after a ruling handed down by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The watchdog said it had found fault with the council for failing to consider the mother’s comments, causing delays and poor communication.

The parent – known only as Mrs X – complained about how the council carried out its annual review of her son Y’s EHCP in November 2022.

The ombudsman found fault with the 16 weeks the council took to issue a draft amended plan in March 2023, which exceeded the four-week deadline in law.

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The ombudsman said Mrs X did not agree with the draft plan due to the reduction in speech and language therapy and occupational therapy, and because the recommendations of the educational psychologist were not included.

The council ignored her comments although eventually considered them and issued a revised draft plan.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Buckinghamshire Council always works closely with families and listens carefully to their considerations when it comes to the provision required for their child.

“On this occasion we listened to the concerns raised and amended the provision as required but regrettably, the delays in signing off the final ECH Plan were not acceptable and for this we sincerely apologise.

“We accept the finding of the Ombudsman and will take the learnings forward.”

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