A COUNCIL has had to pay a mother more than £1,000 for failing to provide for her child’s special education needs.

Brighton and Hove City Council was ordered to pay £1,200 after a “clerical error” meant the child went ten months without crucial speech and language therapy (Salt).

The Local Government Ombudsman, a government official who investigated the claim, also found the child was denied at least five months of occupational therapy (OT) by the council, which included therapy sessions and a handwriting programme.

The ombudsman said the mother, known as Mrs X, had put “time and effort” into getting justice for her boy, especially as the council didn’t admit its mistake until she complained for a second time.

The boy, S, now 18, had been on an education health and care plan since the age of ten, receiving speech and occupational therapy alongside help with dyslexia and handwriting.

The therapy included support from a teaching assistant, weekly therapy sessions and handwriting and touch typing programmes to help him get on in school.

In September 2016, S began attending a specialist boarding school and a college, but from then until June 2017 he did not receive any speech therapy.

A “clerical error” at the council meant no therapy was provided.

Mrs X raised the issue a month later, complaining her son hadn’t received any speech therapy and his occupational therapy sessions had stopped since January, when he left the school to study at the college.

But it wasn’t until October 2017 that she formally complained to the council, claiming S’s therapy was removed without anyone else being consulted.

The council did not admit its mistake until the mother escalated her complaint in January 2018, when it apologised for the error.

Eventually S left his original college and moved to a second residential college, where he had to repeat a year.

The Ombudsman said the council had a “duty” to support S’s needs and should have arranged alternative therapy for him.

He said: “I have found that there was fault by the council causing an injustice to Mrs X and her son.

“The council failed to ensure all the support required under S’s Education , Health and Care (EHC) plan was provided.

“The council had a duty to ensure the support set out in S’s EHC plan was arranged.

“My understanding is that the council has also accepted S did not receive the appropriate therapies from before February 2017 because the OT service removed him from its caseload and the Salt sessions at college one were not suitable for him.

“Mrs X has also had to put time and energy into pursuing her complaint. It was not until her second complaint that the council confirmed it had removed provision from S’s EHC plan in error.

“It did not confirm he had missed out on any support as a result until it responded to the ombudsman’s enquiries.”

Mrs X also appealed to the Special Education Needs and Disciplinary Tribunal, which is investigating her claims.