Hertfordshire County Council has agreed to pay thousands after an Ombudsman’s investigation. Picture: Google Street View.

Herts County Council has agreed to shell out £4,500 over its failure to provide an autistic child with suitable education for more than a year.

By law local authorities must make suitable education provision for all school age children who may not get it unless arrangements are made for them.

But an investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman found HCC failed to do so for a boy with special needs – including autism – after a mental health unit stay in 2018.

The boy’s mother initially complained that her son had “fallen further behind” and said the distressing situation between July 2019 and September 2020 had affected the family.

According to the Ombudsman’s report, the mental health unit had recommended he receive specialist autistic spectrum disorder educational provision along with support for his parents.

The boy was given two one-hour tuition sessions weekly at home from the council’s education support team but he remained at the same mainstream school.

The council had said it could not find an alternative placement and it was looking to put provision in place for the boy at the school.

It consulted with one school for children with social, emotional and mental health requirements – which said it could not meet his needs – but the Ombudsman said the council was at fault for not consulting any of the other five schools.

HCC was also pulled up for not putting in place a reintegration programme after the boy reportedly stopped engaging with his education support for medical absence teacher.

He has subsequently fallen behind at school, the Ombudsman concluded.

The mother also complained about a delay in allocating a social worker and providing her with direct payments until September 2019.

Following the investigation the council has agreed to pay her an additional £400 to reflect the distress and anxiety caused by the time taken to provide a social worker and respite provision.

A HCC spokesperson said: “We take the Ombudsman’s findings very seriously and where they find we have been at fault, we work hard to understand why it happened, how we can put it right and how we can prevent it happening again.

“Following this investigation Hertfordshire County Council recognise and apologise for the difficulties faced by this family.”