Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 15 Oct 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about the information that Council has used to support court proceedings regarding the adoption of the complainant’s children. This is because court proceedings are out of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction and we cannot consider anything relating to them.
- The complainant, who I refer to here as Mr S, says that the Council has used false information that it holds on his file, to take his children into care and place them for adoption.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- 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)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information provided by Mr S and I sent him an initial view for his comments.
What I found
- Mr S’s children have been taken into care, and have been put up for adoption. Mr S complains that the Council holds untrue information about him on its files, and that social workers for the Council used it in court.
- Mr S has now complained to the Ombudsman, but we cannot investigate the matter.
- This is because the decisions to take his children into care and to put them up for adoption were taken by a court. We are not allowed to look into any issue that has been considered as part of court proceedings, as those decisions can only be challenged in court.
- I recognise that Mr S feels the court was presented with untrue information about him. However, that can also only be challenged in court, as it is out of our jurisdiction.
- If Mr S wants to complain about the information held on him, he can approach the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is the body set up to consider such complaints.
- I cannot investigate the complaint. This is because any complaints relating to court proceedings are out of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction and we cannot consider anything relating to them.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman