Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (19 002 329)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 02 Jul 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Ms A’s complaint about her child being adopted against her wishes because it lies outside his jurisdiction. The Ombudsman cannot investigate matters that have been considered and decided in court proceedings. The Ombudsman cannot investigate allegations of criminal activity which Ms A raises as this is a matter for the police.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Ms A, complains her daughter has been placed for adoption against her wishes. Ms A says a kidnapping ring is in operation, placing children for adoption.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. 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 information Ms A provided with her complaint. I also considered Ms A’s previous complaint to the Ombudsman.

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What I found

  1. Ms A complains her daughter has been placed for adoption against her wishes. She also complains about the Council’s actions in the court proceedings leading up to this. She would like the court proceedings to be reopened and reheard and the adoption order revoked.
  2. Ms A believes children are being adopted for money, with babies being advertised for adoption and adopters charged a fee. Ms A says a kidnapping ring is in operation.
  3. Ms A says the Council has declined to investigate her complaint because it has been considered in court.
  4. We previously considered a complaint from Ms A in June 2017 about the events up to mid-2017 and ongoing court proceedings at the time. We could not investigate the complaint because it was inextricably linked to the ongoing court proceedings. I have not reconsidered these events here, although Ms A raises them, as we have already explained we cannot investigate them.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate this complaint because it lies outside our jurisdiction. The law prevents us from considering matters that have been considered in court proceedings. We have no discretion to do so. These decisions can only be challenged in court. The outcomes Ms A seeks in complaining to the Ombudsman could only be achieved if the adoption order was successfully challenged in court.
  2. Ms A also complains about suspected illegal activity. The Ombudsman is unable to investigate criminal behaviour as it lies outside our remit. Crime is a matter for the police to investigate and consider.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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