ENGLAND – Council pays five-figure sum to settle ‘failure to remove’ case

A local authority has settled a case where the claimant alleged that it had repeatedly failed to take her into care when she was young.

The claimant, Collette Elliot, said she would continue to fight for an apology from Birmingham City Council.

The local authority has paid a “five-figure sum” to Elliot. It denied that its decisions were wrong but said it had settled the claim on legal advice.

Elliot was considered ‘at risk’ from when she was two months old. Concerns about her wellbeing were later raised by neighbours, health visitors and teachers.

The claimant had a period in foster care. However, the council took the decision to move her back with her mother permanently.

Elliot subsequently suffered physical and sexual abuse from strangers who came to the house. She went on to suffer from severe depression and attempted suicide on a dozen occasions.

Elliot’s lawyer, Luke Daniels of Irwin Mitchell, said: “This was a complex case which involved us having to go back through the history to identify at which point Collette should have been removed in to care and what experiences could have been avoided during her childhood.

“We hope the settlement helps Collette to access the specialist counselling she needs to be able to come to terms with what happened and move forward with her life. However, we are disappointed that the council has failed to apologise to Collette and will continue to support her as she seeks to receive this.”

Daniels added: “Sadly we continue to be contacted by individuals who feel that they have been failed by the authorities when they are most vulnerable and we hope that any failings identified in Collette’s case are learnt from by councils across the country.”

A spokeswoman for Birmingham City Council said: “This is a difficult case and we are sympathetic to the feelings of the person at the centre of this.

“Social work decisions are often very difficult when you’re faced with judgments involving removing children from their parents. In this case the council did not accept that its decisions were wrong. However, the case has been settled on the basis of legal advice.”

 

SOURCE: Local Government Lawyer

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