Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 29 Mar 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s restrictions on the complainant’s contact with his children. This is because we cannot achieve the complainant’s desired outcome.
- The complainant, who I refer to here as Mr S, says that the Council has refused to remove the unfair restrictions and safety plan imposed on him, with regard to contact with his children.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. 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 we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the information provided by Mr S and by the Council. I have also sent Mr S a draft decision for his comments.
What I found
- The Council has imposed restrictions on Mr S’s contact with his children, and has a safety plan in place.
- Mr S has complained about the restrictions as he regards them as unfair and unnecessary. He asked the Council to remove them, but it refused. It says that it believes the measures are necessary because of a previous conviction.
- The Council has now refused to consider the complaint further as it says it will not change the decision. It has told Mr S that if he wishes to challenge its decision, he would have to take legal action.
- Mr S has now complained to the Ombudsman but we will not investigate the complaint as we cannot achieve the outcome that he is looking for. We cannot instruct the Council to alter or remove the restriction, as only a court can do so.
- Subject to any comments Mr S might make, my view is that the Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because we cannot achieve the outcome that he wants.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman