Greenwich Council has been ordered to reimburse a father after it was found the authority had failed to properly fulfil his son’s special educational needs.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman this week ruled the council was at “significant fault” by failing to provide occupational and speech therapy for the boy.

It comes following a complaint from the boy’s father.

The youth had initially been signed on for an educational, health and care plan (EHCP) – an agreement outlining the extra resources a student with special or complex educational needs can receive – with Greenwich Council in 2015.

The agreement included a commitment that the council would fund Occupational Therapy (OT) for the boy, as well as offering weekly activities under the supervision of a qualified speech and language therapist. 

However, the boy’s father complained to the council in August 2017, claiming that his son’s OT had been stopped in 2016, forcing him to pay for it. 

There had also been no speech and language therapy. 

The council responded acknowledging their error, stating they would fund the boy’s OT going forward, as well as pledging to reimburse the father for what he had paid so far (£840).

The authority also stated it would pay the father £500 to cover the delay  in providing support to the student, and a further £500 for the father’s time and trouble.

However, the father signalled his intention to contact the Ombudsman, with additional complaints including the claim that the council was yet to reimburse him.

In his investigations, the Ombudsman found the council at “significant fault” for failing to arrange and fund OT from 2016 to 2019.

The council was also found at fault for failing to provide speech and language therapy, with the boy missing out on over two years’ support as a result.

The Ombudsman subsequently ordered the council to refund the father for what he had spent on his son, as well as paying him £500 for “time and trouble” caused.

The council was also told to take steps to minimise the risk of recurrence, which the authority agreed with.

A spokesperson for Greenwich Council said the authority wouldn’t comment on individual cases.