Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Council 'wrong' for withdrawing support

A teenage girl with mental health issues had care services wrongly withdrawn by the Isle of Wight Council, a watchdog has found.

The Local Government Ombudsman report found the girl lost her place at a residential school when her family's needs were reassessed.

It said the decision had a "serious effect" on the girl and her family.

The council was ordered to pay more than £7,000 in compensation. It has issued an apology to the family.

The girl was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2006 at the age of 13 and had several complex conditions, including autistic spectrum disorder, reactive attachment disorder and bipolar disorder.

'Frightening behaviour'

The council discontinued its involvement with the family in 2008. The report said it was wrong to do so, because the girl remained a child in need under the Children Act.

Local Government Ombudsman Dr Jane Martin said: "Given the view of the child's consultant psychiatrist, I do not consider there is any doubt that proper and timely review of her residential placement would have confirmed the need for it to continue.

"The girl lost the structure and security provided by the weekly boarding placement, her family had significantly less respite from her difficult and sometimes frightening behaviour."

The report recommended the council carry out a "thorough review of its practices and procedures".

Steve Beynon, Isle of Wight Council chief executive, said: "The council accepts the findings of the Ombudsman and would like to apologise to the family concerned.

"There have been significant changes to practices in this area since this complaint was lodged in 2010. We are confident these improvements would prevent a repeat of the circumstances of this case."

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