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Council apologises after trying to take child from family home without permission

Highland Council officials turned up at the home to take the child away.
Highland Council officials turned up at the home to take the child away.

Highland Council has apologised to a family after social work officials turned up to remove a child from its home without the permission of the parents or the appropriate paperwork.

The blunder led to the local authority carrying out an in-depth review.

A complainer, only known as C, went to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) about the issue.

The complaint said C and their spouse had not given their consent to the youngster being taken away from the property.

Highland Council officials understood that the spouse had given verbal consent and admitted they had failed to prepare the paperwork before visiting the home.

The SPSO upheld C’s complaint, and the local authority apologised.

The SPSO ordered the local authority to apologise to the family involved.

A statement from the SPSO said their subsequent probe found there were “failings to properly obtain consent” and “confusion” over the legislation used as part of the process.

It said: “C was not at home at the time and said that they objected to the decision. C complained that their spouse also did not give consent to the children being removed and, therefore, the appropriate powers were not used to remove the children.

“The council said that they understood that C’s spouse had given their verbal consent to the children’s removal; however, they acknowledged there was a failure to prepare the necessary paperwork prior to visiting the children’s home.

“As part of our investigation, we reviewed the relevant case records and took independent social work advice.

“The council said that they understood that C’s spouse had given their verbal consent to the children’s removal; however, they acknowledged there was a failure to prepare the necessary paperwork prior to visiting the children’s home.

“We found that there were failings to properly obtain consent, that there was confusion over the legislation being used to remove the children and that there was a failure to explain to either C or their spouse what the legislative framework was.”

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “A full apology has been provided to the family and we have reflected and carried out an in-depth review and set out an improvement plan of action.

“The council has provided evidence to the SPSO and recommendations by the SPSO have been carried out. We will continue to implement the improvement plan which will be fully reported to the council’s audit and scrutiny committee in due course.”

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