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LGO - is this the right place to complain?

(24 Posts)
bochead Mon 17-Feb-14 18:05:48

New LA hassles.

Offered mainstream place minus the SALT/OT/ASD outreach named in statement. TA time reduced from 27.5 to 20 hours. I refused within the 15 day time limit to be told panel wouldn't budge.

This has taken from September to now.

Oh and the annual review due 28th November is now scheduled for June.

Is the LGO the right place to complain to?

I'm in the process of setting up a halfway decent home programme with my own private OT etc. Do I jump in now with an application to Tribunal, or do I have to wait till after the much delayed annual review?

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 17-Feb-14 18:34:42

Hi Boc.

What is the status of the decision they have made from September? This wasn't an AR? Was it a review following a move?

Every time a statement is issued, amended, re-issued, etc you have a right to appeal and you should have been told that. You have two months to do so.

Obviously, it will take about 6 months to get round to having a hearing so you'd be as well to crack on.

I think, in terms of the AR, you could go to the LGO as they are in breach of the COP but you may have to go through their internal complaints process first and it would depend on what the nature of the decision to amend you have just been given was.

bochead Mon 17-Feb-14 18:51:03

Review following a move.

It took them from Sept - Feb to offer the mainstream place minus a lot of the support he had in his London statement. For that period we had NOTHING from the LA, eg if I wasn't the pro-active type he'd have been sat at home watching cbeebies.

legally DS had no educational provison offered from Sept - Feb. I sent all paperwork ahead of us to moving last summer and obviously informed them when I got here and asked them to sort out his school in Sept.

I FINALLY got a letter asking me to accept/refuse the school place offered dated 6th Feb. Wrote nice letter refusing it and listing my reasons.

Panel meet weekly here so responses are fast. This also means they have no excuse whatsoever for taking 6 months to give him a school place.

As we were left alone so long I got on with things alone and am now decided ABA lite + online school is the way to go long term so want to apply for a home programme. DS is year 5, and having failed in 3 schools already we can't afford anymore " dump him there and watch him fall apart" episodes before secondary - he's missed so much. He's happy and learning at last.

DS's burned his way thru 3 mainstream placements so I refuse to put him through it yet again to prove a point to caring carrots who need to see for themselves what a mess he'll become before they'll listen.

So I now say OK - gonna appeal your school offer and go to Tribunal for Primary School - that'll take till the start of year 6 by the time the darn hearing date comes up.

June is when they process secondary applications for statemented kids here I think this is why they are delaying the annual review to fit the transition timeline.

- so that'll probably mean I'll have two tribunals in the pipeline simultaneously by the time all is said and done confused. One for primary and one for secondary as they've already said he won't get a secondary unit place.

justawasteoftime Mon 17-Feb-14 20:19:14

Honestly? If you're prepared to spend months of your time only for the L G O to agree with the L A breaking the law then go for it. A recent decision by them is that although there is a legal duty to provide education they find no fault with the council for not doing so.

You may find an investigator that fully considers your evidence as well as the legalities but that seems to be a bit of a rarity around these parts tbh.

TOWIE2014 Mon 17-Feb-14 20:34:13

This exactly what has happened with me. The LGO has agreed with the LA breaking the law. I have just had a decision where the LGO has totally believed the whole load of bullocks the LA span them. The same "evidence" (and I use that term very loosely) that just would not stand up in a court. All the written evidence says that ABC happened, yet the LGO have believed that XYZ happened based on no written evidence stating that XYZ happened but just the memory of a lying SEN manager recalling events of a year ago from her very faulty and highly selective memory.

That said, I would still go to the LGO to complain. You won't get an answer or the result you want, but it will make the LA squirm

justawasteoftime Mon 17-Feb-14 20:44:03

Hiya Towie wink

TOWIE2014 Mon 17-Feb-14 20:54:19

wink right back at y'ou

bochead Mon 17-Feb-14 21:04:44

I don't expect anything from anyone nowadays in terms of accountability.

It's more a "how do I log this so it can't bite me in the ass in the future" sort of thing. To say historical experiences have left me cynical is putting it mildly really.

I think I should log it somewhere that DS has been left to rot - but where?

TOWIE2014 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:09:55

Go to the LGO. Get it logged. At the very best, it'll make the LA squirm and they might be more careful with you in the future.

Normally you have to go through the LAs formal complaints procedure first, before you can get to the LGO, but in same cases (eg if it's urgent) the LGO will talk to you directly without going through the LA's complaints process. Phone their advice line.

bochead Mon 17-Feb-14 21:14:28

At worst?

Buggered if I can find the LA complaints procedure. Does a polite letter to the Head of Children's services count as a complaint?

justawasteoftime Mon 17-Feb-14 21:16:55

The problem is that complaining to anyone about anything may come back to bite you. However your complaint may stop it happening again or may make them think twice in future.

L G O complaints do get published now too and other parents can see what has happened so it may help them in the future. For instance in my case I have been told that procedures have been reviewed to prevent a similar situation happening again but I know full well that it still goes on in the county. Knowledge about these sort of things can be very useful.

justawasteoftime Mon 17-Feb-14 21:18:21

Boc - you will need to mark the letter 'Complaint' otherwise it'll go nowhere.

TOWIE2014 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:25:39

There's normally at least 2 (sometimes 3) parts of the complaints process until you get to LGO.

In my county, Stage 1 is a telephone complaint bugger that, waste of time Stage 2 is when you write formally to the LA - mark it all over that this is a FORMAL COMPLAINT (nice big writing so they can read it - they're not very bright so might miss it). They will then reply to you giving you a load of shit You then write again at their Stage 3, to which they will write back a one page "please go away, I've got hump with you". After which you can then go to LGO.

Google your LA's name, along with "corporate complaints". That should give you the name and address and whether you have 2 or 3 hoops to jump through.

justawasteoftime Mon 17-Feb-14 21:27:02

What Towie said grin

TOWIE2014 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:48:44

I'm in two minds about whether complaining does any good. My LA hated me before. But now they totally and utterly detest me because of my LGO complaint, and they know that they have had to lie to the LGO and make up stuff - even if the LGO has allowed them to.

I am in no doubt that they will do anything in the power to get my son out of the indie school they were forced to place him in by a Tribunal judge. However, whether I complained to the LGO or not, they were still going to do this at some point in the future anyway.

However, the thing that keeps me going is that I'm brighter than them and I detest injustice - particularly an injustice to a disabled child.

EVERYONE who has an illegal experience with their LA should complain. How can LAs be brought to account if only a few complain?

All LGO complaints are now published on their website. Your complaint might help another parent. If enough people complain about their LAs, then people/councillors/MPs just might take note of the number of complaints for that LA based on what is being published on the LGOs website.

dontknowwhat2callmyself Mon 17-Feb-14 21:54:59

Yes write to LA saying you want them to put your complaint through their formal complaint procedures also tell them in that letter that you are going to take the complaint to the LGO. I did this a few years back as DD wasn't getting SALT although her statement said she was entitled to half termly SALT. Result was they called me the next day to say they had "found a SALT" hmm.
My LA had been fined on a previous occasion when they had not provided SALT for a child as per their statement so this may have been why they found a SALT so quickly. I have to add I had been in back and forth correspondence with them for about a month before I sent the formal complaint letter.

justawasteoftime Mon 17-Feb-14 21:55:18

Yes, they get very angry when they have to cross swords with a parent who knows their rights.

justawasteoftime Mon 17-Feb-14 21:55:36

And knows they're right!

TOWIE2014 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:59:28

Thanks! Not! That's just reassured me even more that I've got a whole lot more trouble yet to come.

Oh well.

Still glad I complained tho. grin

bochead Mon 17-Feb-14 22:06:34

My old LA used to bully terribly those who complained. However having an evidence trail that time meant we didn't go under, as it was easy for me to prove I'd done everything I should/could have done iyswim.

It's about covering MY back as much as anything else, as DS has access to no services at all right now, and who knows what services he'll need by the time he's 16? I honestly can't afford to pay for all the therapies he needs privately.

manishkmehta Mon 17-Feb-14 23:37:15

Dear BOCHEAD - "Oh and the annual review due 28th November is now scheduled for June.” - A child with a statement should have an annual review annually... If the date has been moved by 6 or 7 months then the question I would ask is..."will they meet the annual review requirement...?”

From my understanding of the issues you raised you seem concerned that "appropriate" provision is NOT being made... The remedy for that really is the FTT...

My experience has taught me that the LGO are a waste of time... Whilst I wouldn’t discourage you from going down that road it’s my understanding that they might not be able to resolve your issues in full… If provision really is the issue that is a matter for the FTT.

Question… do you have a right of appeal? If not, when was your last annual review? – You really do need to get an annual review if the LEA are not making appropriate provision. In the meantime i would complain to the LGO, but i wouldn't expect too much from them...

Good luck,
Manish.

bochead Tue 18-Feb-14 00:29:10

wot's the FTT?

sorry for being right fick blush

Last annual review was in last LA November 2012.

my real priority and focus, having gotten into it, is to continue what we are doing re home edding so DS stands a fighting chance at having a stab at the secondary curriculum. His statement needs to remain "live" for secondary transition.

manishkmehta Tue 18-Feb-14 00:39:07

ftt = first tier tribunal... Please don't apologize... we are all parents in the same boat...

If your last annual review was in Nov 2012, then you should have had an annual review in Nov 2013... I worry that you have stated that the LEA have moved the annual review to June 2014... That is NOT on...

When is you son due to move to secondary? - is that in Sept 2014? If so you should have had an amended statement by 15th Feb 2014... if he is NOT transferring this Sept 2014 then would you mind if i asked how old your son is?

If he is being home schooled are you paying all the costs? If so, that must be expensive and i would say that if you do want to get him back into school then there are ways of moving forward on that front... However, i do appreciate your concerns that he isn't being offered appropriate support... which then takes me back to why i think you need to go to the ftt.

If you want to chat then please do get in touch. Good luck with our home ed... Manish.

bochead Tue 18-Feb-14 00:55:59

DS is year 5.

I'm paying all the costs of homeschooling. That was OK when we arrived in September in our new area, as I mistakenly assumed it'd be for a few weeks while we got a school place sorted iyswim.

I suppose I'm looking for a way to log officially the AR delay is not OK without getting into the huge costs and emotional stresses of a tribunal, given that he only has 18 months left at Primary. tbh my VERY limited funds would be better spent on direct therapies that will enable him to close the gap academically before year 7 than on lots of tribunal reports that simply repeat existing documentation of needs.

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