Disabled girl ‘lost in the system’ by Birmingham City Council for four years

Birmingham City Council “singularly failed” a disabled child “lost in the system” for more than four years, the Local Government Ombudsman has ruled.

A report said the authority failed to contact the girl’s mother from November 2006 to March 2011 to assess support payments.

It added social workers had not identified the girl’s “complex needs” and left her mother to raise her alone.

The council has agreed to pay £5,000 following the ombudsman’s report.


Social workers identified the girl, named in the report as ‘X’, as suffering from autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyspraxia and communication difficulties in November 2006 when she was seven.

The council has accepted that the service provided to Ms B and her daughter was not only poor but unsupportive…”

Dr Jane Martin Local Government Ombudsman

Her mother, “Ms B” who was bringing up the girl on her own, was awarded direct payments from the council but these were not sufficient to meet her daughter’s needs, the report said.

It added the council “lost sight of the girl” until March 2011, and when it re-established contact its analysis of X’s needs was “incomplete and inaccurate”.

By July 2013, the girl, now 15, had “increased difficulties” but her mother was still receiving the same level of support payment as in 2006.

‘Unaware of needs’

The report added a core assessment in September 2013 was not “fit for purpose” in identifying whether care provision was adequate.

Ombudsman Dr Jane Martin said Birmingham City Council had “no idea” of the family’s needs.

“The council has accepted that the service provided to Ms B and her daughter was not only poor but unsupportive and not focussed on an outcome for X,” she said.

A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman said it had increased senior management involvement in cases and updated its complaints system.

“We have also put in place further staff training to improve quality of single assessments,” she added.

The council’s children’s services department is under inspection by Ofsted.