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Council ordered to pay £5,000 to vulnerable care leaver

Date:27 MAY 2009

The Local Government Ombudsman has found that the London Borough of Lambeth failed a young person who looked to the Council for support, advice and assistance when leaving its care.

Lambeth Council has been ordered to complete a review of the care leaver's pathway plan as quickly as possible and must pay him £5,000 in recognition of the injustice he has suffered as a result of the Council's maladministration.

In his report issued today, the Ombudsman, Jerry White said: "The Council is expected to act just as a good parent would to help, support and encourage a young person brought up in the care system to make a successful transition to independence and adulthood."

The care leaver was in the Council's care from February 2000 when he was 13. According to his psychotherapist, the care leaver had bouts of reactive depression. His solicitors complained on his behalf that there were shortcomings and inadequacies in the services provided to him and that the Council failed to take account of his vulnerability when assisting and supporting him. They say he has suffered distress, frustration and uncertainty as a result of the Council's shortcomings.

The Council had a contract with a separate company to provide a personal adviser and pathway planning service until the care leaver reached the age of 21.

He received therapeutic care and financial support from a charity, which the council has been ordered to pay £2,000 as some recognition of the role it has played in his life in the absence of effective support from the Council.

The Ombudsman found that the council failed to take full account of the car leaver's vulnerability when assessing and supporting him, or to ensure that key information was supplied to his personal adviser.