A WATCHDOG has rapped Cumbria County Council over how it investigated allegations against a foster carer.

The Local Government Ombudsman looked into how the council handled a complaint from the former foster carer.

Allegations were said to have been made against the foster carer by children previously in his care.

The carer, identified only as Mr X, raised concern over the 'nature' of the investigation, according to a report released by the ombudsman.

The report did not detail what the allegation was.

According to the law, a hearing to escalate children's services complaints must be conducted within certain time limits.

But the LGO said the council told Mr X this would take up to three months.

Describing what happened, a decision notice said: "Mr X complained in January 2022 about the children's services actions.

"He complained about the nature of the Council’s investigation into allegations made against him by children who were previously in his care when he was registered as their Foster Carer.

"The Council replied in February 2022.

"Mr X requested in writing for his complaint to be escalated to Stage Two of the Children Act statutory complaints procedure at the end of February 2022.

"The Council replied by saying the case would be placed on a waiting list for allocation to an Investigating Officer. The Council said it had a two to three month wait."

Conducting the investigation, the ombudsman said the probe would  likely find the council's delay 'is failure to comply with the statutory complaints’ procedure and is at fault which has caused Mr X some time and trouble'.

The complaint raised by Mr X was upheld by the watchdog.

The council has agreed within 65 working days to complete a stage two investigation and write to Mr X to inform him of the outcome, 'ensuring it provides him appropriate information about his rights under the process'.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “We note the Ombudsman’s ruling and will progress the complaint as directed.”