Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 05 Jul 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman should not investigate Mr J’s complaint about the Council’s response to a safeguarding referral. It is unlikely further investigation would lead to a different outcome.
- Mr J complains about the Council’s response to a safeguarding concern he raised about his ex-partner’s care of their child, S.
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:
- it is unlikely we would find fault, or
- it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the information provided by Mr J with his complaint, and given him the opportunity to comment on my draft decision.
What I found
- Mr J’s son, S, had an appointment to attend a health clinic. S’s mother was unable to accompany him on that particular day, and did not want him to attend alone, so he did not go to the appointment. Mr J raised this with the Council as a safeguarding concern.
- The Council made enquiries of agencies working with the family, none of whom reported concerns. The Council considered S’s mother’s explanation of why S did not attend the appointment, and decided this was a credible explanation. S was not at risk of harm, because the appointment could be rearranged. So the Council decided it would take no further action.
- The Council reviewed its actions in response to Mr J’s complaint and concluded that its decision not to take further action was the correct one. It is unlikely that investigation by us would add to this. We cannot question a decision taken without fault, and there is nothing to suggest the Council’s decision-making here was flawed by fault.
- The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely that further investigation will lead to a different outcome.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman