A Reading mum has received a payout and an apology from the council’s childrens services company after it failed to update her on her son’s education and some of his valuables went missing.

She has received a payout of £690 and the apology after complaining about Reading Borough Council’s children services company Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) and how it had looked after her son, who is a Looked after Child.

A Looked after Child is a boy or girl  who has been in the care of their local authority for more than 24 hours.

Even though the boy was under the care of the council since 2016, his parents maintain their responsibility and influence over the lives of their children.

The mum complained that the council had failed to keep her informed about the type of school her son attended, and whether he attended full time or not.

The complaint was lodged in 2019, when her son was 14 years old and going through year 10.

Also, she said that BFfC lost her son’s three-wheeled bike, handheld games console and tablet, all items she had bought, when moving from a care placement.

Alarmingly, at one of his placements, the boy had been given pork to eat, which is against his family’s religion.

The mum complained to BFfC, which partially upheld her complaints as part of its procedure.

BFfC did reimburse the boy by buying a laptop, which he preferred to a tablet, but did not reimburse with a new three-wheeled bike, because the boy didn’t want one, or replace the handheld games console.

However, she was unhappy and asked the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to investigate her complaint.

The ombudsman found that there was an injustice over the council failing to keep the mum informed about his progress in school and properly explain how his valuables went missing.

The LGSO recommended reviewing guidance for what do in maintaining relations with parents who have a Looked after Child, produce guidance on what to do when possessions go missing, and make sure their possessions are properly accounted for.

The mum, who is anonymised as Mrs Y in the LGSO report, was awarded a total of £690, £400 of that in recognition of the distress and uncertainty that the faults caused and £290 of reimbursement for lost items, with £200 towards the cost of the bike and £90 towards the lost tablet.

BFfC has enacted the recommended actions.

A spokesperson for BFfC said: “BFfC accepts the findings of the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman in this case and has apologised to Mrs Y for the faults identified in the report.

“We have also taken the further actions relating directly to Mrs Y and her family in the timescale set by the Ombudsman and provided evidence as requested.

“BFfC is now working on the wider service improvements agreed with the Ombudsman and will be providing evidence that these have been completed within the three-month deadline.”