A damning report into the removal of two children from their mother by Moray Council social workers has revealed a catalogue of serious failures which led to a “significant injustice” against the family.
The failings by the north-east local authority are so severe the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) has placed its report before the Scottish Parliament today to ensure all other councils note its 15 recommendations to prevent a repeat of the actions which left a family “traumatised”.
Moray Council social workers, along with police, removed two girls from their family home within five months of their mum seeking support for her eldest child who is autistic, and over the course of two years continually breached their own regulations and policies.
The inquiry report by SPSO states that social workers failed to provide clear assessments of risk, made unfounded allegations about the mum’s mental health, and denied the children the right to attend hearings about their care or include their feelings and views in what was happening to them.
They also placed the older child in a residential home for teenagers when she was only 11, and the other into foster care, without any attempt to have them live with extended family, despite offers from grandparents – and even failed to inform the parents when the younger child was hospitalised after being taken into care.
Further, the ombudsman said it was “deeply concerning” that when complaints were raised with the council, it did not act on them.
“The impact of these failings, both on Mrs A and her children should not be underestimated. This, together with the lost opportunity to learn lessons from the case when the complaints were first raised means the potential that these failings could re-occur, has not been acted on. This is deeply concerning,” the report states.
It adds that the report has been made public “because of the significant personal injustice to Mrs A and her family arising from the failures identified; including significant local complaint procedure failings.”