GUARDIANS in Devon who received means-tested benefits for looking after children could see their allowances recalculated after a finding against the county council.

An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) into a complaint by an individual named Miss B has led to Devon County Council compensating her and agreeing to review all guardians’ financial support.

Miss B claimed the council wrongly deducted child benefit from her special guardian allowance (SGA), failed to provide a copy of her grandchild’s support plan and didn’t share information with her.

She also complained that the council had delayed significantly her complaint through the legal complaints process, taking just over a year to complete stage two, to which complaints escalate if they are not suitably handled to start with.

Following the LGSCO’s investigation, it asked the council to apologise, recalculate Miss B’s allowance and reimburse her for child benefit deductions it had made.

It also asked Devon to pay £300 for the delayed complaints’ process and another £300 for a lack of information and support following the special guardianship order.

The council accepted all the LGSCO’s recommendations, and said it will now recalculate means-tested benefits for 170 guardians and pay them and child benefit deductions it has erroneously made.

So far, half of those eligible have completed finance review paperwork, and updated allowances due to be paid soon.

However, the council said it knew of 125 carers for whom it had no financial information, and invited them to get in touch so they can be assessed.