Our actions against public bodies team recently managed to secure a substantial sum from a local authority for payments owed to a special guardian. The special guardian was owed payments dating back a number of years.
Under Special Guardianship Order (SGO), a person who is not the child’s parent becomes responsible for the child’s care and can make decisions about their welfare and upbringing. An SGO has to be applied for and it is up to the courts to decide whether one is granted.
Importantly, a special guardian is entitled to receive support from the local authority. This includes an entitlement to special guardianship payments.
The special guardian in our case had a story like many others – they had applied and fought for a SGO, were happy to have simply been given care over children, and were, understandably, focused on providing the best support possible. They were not thinking about special guardianship payments. The local authority were not forthcoming in disclosing their obligation to make special guardianship payments and the matter had been left for a number of years.
Working closely with the special guardian, our team were able to secure payment from the local authority.
Done properly, SGOs are a good way of dealing with the fundamental issue of how best to care for children who are in difficult circumstances. Some local authorities are, however, failing to uphold their end of the deal.
We would envisage that local authorities should deal with issues around SGOs once it is brought to their attention, but should any special guardians feel that they need support, our team of experts here at Stephensons are on hand to assist.
If you would like to speak to somebody, then please call Stephensons on 01616 966 229.