Luton Borough Council (18 007 141)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 20 Sep 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Miss A’s complaint about the decisions on her son’s care because those decisions were made by the court.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Miss A, complains that the Council’s decisions have not been in her son's best interests.

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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 have spoken with Miss A has said in support of her complaint and in response to my draft decision. I have and spoken with the Council.

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What I found

  1. Miss A’s son is regarded as a child in need by the Council. The Council went to court to obtain an Emergency Protection Order for him. The court granted the order and placed Miss A’s son away from his home, separating him from her. He is now placed with relatives.
  2. Miss A complains that the Council failed to act in her interests and the interests of her son. She argues that the information it put before the court was inaccurate and the Council’s social worker failed to attend court. Miss A says the Council’s actions have caused her distress.
  3. The Ombudsman cannot investigate Miss A’s complaint because it concerns decisions made by the court. The law says the Ombudsman cannot investigate court decisions. The Council’s actions have been tested in court and the Ombudsman cannot intervene.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it concerns matters which were decided in court.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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