The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council placing limits on Mr X’s contact with its services, allegedly without valid reason. This is because the Council has already provided a suitable remedy and there is nothing further we could achieve.
- Mr X says the Council placed limits on his contact with its services without valid reasons. Mr X says he has therefore been unable to help his wife and son, who are disabled, as he cannot contact the Council on their behalf. Mr X says this caused him to experience stress and frustration. Mr X is asking for the Council to remove the contact limits.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we are satisfied with the actions a council has taken or proposes to take. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(7), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code and Guidance on Remedies.
- Two of Mr X’s children were previously accessing support from the Council’s children’s services. Children’s services placed contact limits on Mr X, his wife, and his son, due to excessive contact with the service. When Mr X’s children turned eighteen in May 2021, they moved to the care of the Council’s adult social care team. The adult social care team then received excessive contact from
Mr X’s wife and son, and so also placed limits on contact. Mr X had not contacted the adult social care team during this time and so the Council should not have applied the limits to him.
- The Council upheld Mr X’s complaint and accepted that it had placed limits on his contact with the adult social care team in error. The Council apologised to Mr X, explained how the error had occurred, and what steps it had taken to prevent this happening again. This is in line with what we would usually recommend and our Guidance on Remedies. Therefore, we will not investigate this complaint as the Council has already provided a suitable remedy.
- Mr X said in his complaint to us that since receiving the Council’s complaint response and apology he had discovered he was still not allowed to contact any department of the Council. The Council has confirmed Mr X cannot contact children’s services by email and must ensure that his wife is not a participant in any phone call he has with them. The Council say there are no limits in place on Mr X’s contact with the adult social care team and Mr X has recently been in contact with them about his wife’s direct carer payments. I am satisfied the adult social care contact limits applied in error are no longer in place.
- We will not investigate this complaint. This is because the Council has already provided a suitable remedy and there is nothing further we could achieve.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman