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Blackburn with Darwen Council (17 012 537)

Category : Adult care services > Transition from childrens services

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 31 Jan 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We should not investigate Miss J’s complaint about what a social worker told her, because it is unlikely we would find evidence of fault, and the final decisions about her daughters will be made in court.

The complaint

  1. Miss J complains the Council gave her wrong information about the process for deciding where her daughter should live, and wrongly said she would never get either of her daughters back.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We have the power to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we think the issues could reasonably be, or have been, raised within a court of law. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)

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 evidence of fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered information provided by Miss J with her complaint, and information provided by the Council about its consideration of her complaint. I have discussed Miss J’s complaint with her on the phone.

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What I found

  1. The court is currently considering the arrangements for Miss J’s daughters’ welfare. It will also make the decision about where they should live. So we will not investigate this, because Miss J can put forward her views about this in court.
  2. Miss J’s complaint about wrong information is a complaint about what a social worker said. It is unlikely we would find a written record which corresponds to Miss J’s recollection of the conversation. So we should not investigate this, because it is unlikely we will find evidence of fault.

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Final decision

  1. We should not investigate Miss J's complaint about what a social worker told her, because it is unlikely we would find evidence of fault, and the final decisions about her daughters will be made in court.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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