Islington Council ‘sorry’ for failing to help homeless woman’s daughter – who is now missing

Islington Town Hall. Photograph: Islington Council

Islington Council has apologised for failing to help a homeless woman’s teenage daughter who has since gone missing.

An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, publicised on 13 June, found the council “at fault” for not checking whether it had a duty of care to the teenager.

When asked about the case by the Islington Citizen, a council spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry for the way we handled this case.

“We’ve held an internal review of this complaint, and have shared the findings from this so we can learn lessons for the future in any similar situation.”

The teenager and her mother had sought help from Islington Council, saying they were homeless, and were at first housed in a neighbouring borough.

But when council officers decided that the mother was intentionally homeless,  they denied her daughter access to Islington children’s services.

The teenager’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

The ombudsman’s investigation found the council at fault for failing to support the teenager, who was at risk of homelessness, saying the council should have carried out an assessment into what duty they owed her.

The council has paid out £400 in compensation to the teenager’s family over its handling of the case and tried to track her down, but without success.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “Islington council’s failures in this case have led to a situation where there is genuine concern for the welfare of this young person, as the council can no longer get in contact with her.

“Councils need to recognise the separate duty they have towards children when their parents are made homeless.

“I welcome the steps Islington council has already taken to share the lessons that can be learned from this investigation with its staff to help ensure this situation cannot arise in future.”