West Sussex County Council (17 003 986)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 24 Sep 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Miss X’s complaint about the contact she has with her child as a Court decided this.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Miss X, says the Council prevented her from seeing her child, B.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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 considered the considerable amount of information Miss X provided with her complaint and the Council’s approach which it provided. I have discussed the case with Miss X and she had an opportunity to comment on a draft version of this decision.

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What I found

  1. Miss X has a child, B who is now 16. The Courts decided that she should not care for B. Since its decision to give the Council a Care Order for B, B has lived away from Miss X. The Courts also decided Miss X should have no contact with B. Miss X would have been publicly funded for legally representation in those proceedings.
  2. Miss X says the Council has not been fair to her. She says it has prevented her seeing B. She says it has not told the Court the truth. She says she has not abused B and believes she has been a good mother. She says it has failed to take into account her disability.


  1. We cannot consider if Miss X should care for B or whether she should have contact with B. We cannot do this because a Court decided this.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint. This is because we cannot investigate the Court’s decisions.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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