An investigation found there was "no fault with the council's actions" after a mother complained about its attempts to get her daughter back to school.

West Berkshire Council intervened after the girl, who has not been named, stopped attending a secondary school in 2019 because she was suffering with severe anxiety.

The mother lodged dozens of complaints after the council sent social workers to check on the girl on numerous occasions and tried to get her back into education.

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She called the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in to investigate after her relationship with the council broke down.

However, the ombudsman found there was "no fault" with the council's actions and it "acted appropriately".

What happened?

West Berkshire Council sent social workers to visit her home in February 2019 and drew up a Child Protection Plan because her daughter was not attending school regularly.

The social workers were concerned the girl was becoming isolated and saw that she was spending a lot of time in bed and reluctant to engage with them.

When a GP signed the girl off school permanently because she was suffering with anxiety, she began receiving 90-minute tuition sessions three days a week.

Council workers held discussions with educational and medical professionals, to figure out how they could reduce her anxiety and get her back to the classroom.

In June 2019, the mother lodged a complaint with the council, claiming the school could not meet her daughter's need and the council refused to provide alternative education.

The council said it was a Stage 1 complaint, so it would be dealt with internally, and claimed the school could meet her daughter's needs and it had spoken to several specialist schools and tutors to see if they could take her on.

Two social workers visited her in August 2019 and found the girl was in a good mood but not attending school.

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The following month, the mother submitted a nine-page complaint, that raised 55 issues, and said it was "unnecessary and upsetting" for the council to send two social workers to her home.

The council upgraded it to a Stage 2 complaint, which meant an independent investigator was brought in to complete a review of the case within 65 working days.

The investigator responded to the mother in April 2020 and said 20 of the 59 complaint points had been upheld.

He also made several recommendations, including one which stated the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) should consider whether sending social workers in pairs could be having an adverse effect on the girl.

Unhappy with his findings, the girl's mother brought in the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to investigate.

What did the Ombudsman find?

The ombudsman found the Stage 2 investigation took 135 working days and it should have been completed within 65.

But the ombudsman, which refers to the mother as Mrs X and the girl as Y to protect their identities also states "there is no fault with the council’s actions".

The decision states: "The evidence shows the council consulted various educational professionals and arranged medical tuition for Y within a timely manner.

"The council has continued to review Y’s progress and contacted other facilities to find a suitable full-time placement for Y.

"The council has repeatedly noted Y is not engaging with the tuition she is receiving and so I cannot see that increasing her tuition, would be effective.

"The evidence shows the council has acted appropriately."

It adds: "I have not seen evidence in the notes recorded during the child protection visits that indicates Y was affected negatively by the council sending two social workers to Mrs X’s home."