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Essex County Council (17 015 916)

Category : Adult care services > Transition from childrens services

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 15 Nov 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate as there is insufficient evidence that Mr X has consented to the complaint.

The complaint

  1. The complainants (whom I shall call Mr and Mrs A) complain that the Council delayed for too long in offering their disabled son, Mr X, alternative housing after he assaulted his sister.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We may investigate complaints made on behalf of someone else if they have given their consent. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26A(1), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the written information provided by Mr and Mrs A and by the Council. We spoke to Mrs A. I obtained further information from the Council and from other parties who know Mr X.

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What I found

  1. Mr X has autism. In 2014 he assaulted one of his sisters.
  2. Mrs A says she found alternative accommodation for Mr X in 2016 but the Council delayed in moving him to a suitable placement. Mr and Mrs A says Mr X and his sisters want to complain about the delay by the Council.
  3. Neither of Mr X’s sisters have consented to the complaint.
  4. Mrs A sent us a consent form which she said showed Mr X’s agreement to making the complaint. The Council disputed that his consent was genuine. The Council said Mr X has consistently said to his social worker that he did not want to share information.
  5. Following our enquiries the Council made several attempts to meet Mr X to find out if he wanted to consent to making the complaint. Mr X did not attend the meetings which were arranged, or return his social worker’s calls.
  6. Other enquiries we made did not satisfy us that Mr X had given valid and informed consent to making the complaint.

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Final decision

  1. In the absence of consent from Mr X the Ombudsman cannot investigate the complaint.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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