Gloucestershire County Council (19 011 034)

Category : Children's care services > Adoption

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 05 Dec 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about an alleged data breach by the Council. This is because this is a matter best considered by the Information Commissioner’s office.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I shall call Mr X, complains the Council has incorrectly shared his personal information with his daughter’s adopters, without his consent.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We can decide whether to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
  2. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. 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 there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  3. We normally expect someone to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner if they have a complaint about data protection. However, we may decide to investigate if we think there are good reasons. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information Mr X provided in his complaint. I also considered the complaint correspondence which we obtained from the Council. I sent Mr X a draft of my decision and considered his comments on it.

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What I found

  1. Mr X says the Council has incorrectly shared his personal information and a photograph with his daughter’s adopters, without his consent.
  2. The Council says it was legally required to prepare a report about his daughter’s birth family prior to her adoption. It said Mr X had the opportunity to question the information provided during the adoption process, via his legal representative. The Council says the photograph it provided was publicly accessible on Mr X’s social media page.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because complaints about data protection matters are best considered by the Information Commissioner.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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