Kent County Council (17 017 606)

Category : Children's care services > Adoption

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 23 Mar 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr J’s complaint that the Council removed his child for adoption, because the decision to do this was made by the court, and Mr J made his complaint to the court as part of proceedings.

The complaint

  1. Mr J complains that the Council wrongly removed his newborn child and treated Mr J and his ex partner unfairly. Mr J says it is wrong that the child has now been placed for adoption and will never know his birth family.

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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)
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint about the start of court action or what happened in court. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5/5A, paragraph 1/3, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the information Mr J provided with his complaint, and information provided by the Council about its consideration of the complaint. I have discussed the complaint with Mr J over the phone, and given him the opportunity to comment on my draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr J made this complaint in a statement to court during proceedings. So it is not a matter we will investigate now.
  2. And the decisions to remove Mr J’s child from his care, and place the child for adoption, were reviewed in court and became part of the court proceedings. We cannot investigate complaints about the start of court action or what happened in court.
  3. We also cannot change the court’s decisions. If Mr J does not want his child to be adopted, this is a matter he will have to take back to court.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint, because it is about the court’s decision, and Mr J made his complaint to the court as part of proceedings.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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