Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Sheffield City Council (19 011 200)

Category : Adult care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 12 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint about the way in which a Council social worker handled a telephone conversation. This is because an investigation by the Ombudsman is unlikely to achieve the outcome Ms X wants or find fault causing a significant enough personal injustice.

The complaint

  1. Ms X complains a Council social worker handled a telephone call in July 2019 in an unprofessional and insulting manner.
  2. Ms X wants the social worker to explain her actions towards her.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
  • it is unlikely we would find fault, or
  • the injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement, or
  • we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants, or
  • it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered Ms X’s complaint to the Ombudsman and the information she provided. I have written to Ms X with my draft decision and considered her response.

Back to top

What I found

  1. Ms X complains about the way in which a particular social worker spoke to her over the telephone.
  2. Ms X has presented her version of the call and the Council has detailed its consideration of the call within its complaint response. It is evident from both submissions that a disagreement occurred during a heated conversation.
  3. We were not present during the call between Ms X and the social worker. The Ombudsman cannot take a view on the content of the call when we have not witnessed it.
  4. The Council’s investigation officer set out its understanding of the call. It is unlikely that further investigation would lead to the outcome Ms X wants as the Council has already provided an explanation of how it sees the conversation.
  5. The injustice to Ms X is not sufficient enough to justify our involvement in the complaint.
  6. Ms X says the Council has delayed and prevented her from going through the complaints process. It is not a good use of public resources to investigate complaints about complaint procedures, if we are unable to deal with the substantive issue.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. My decision is that the Ombudsman will not investigate her complaint about the way in which a social worker handled a telephone conversation. This is because an investigation by the Ombudsman is unlikely to achieve the outcome Ms X wants or find fault causing a significant enough personal injustice.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page