Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 30 Mar 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint that the Council holds inaccurate information about her and shared it with other people. The Information Commissioner’s Office is better placed.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Ms X, says the Council’s children services team holds inaccurate information about them.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We normally expect someone to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner if they have a complaint about data protection. However, we may decide to investigate if we think there are good reasons. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
- 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 there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information Ms X provided with her complaint. Ms X had the opportunity to comment on a draft version of this decision.
What I found
- Ms X says the Council gave false information to professionals involved with her child. She says it holds information on its records saying Ms X suffered from an illness which she says she has medical proof showing she did not. Ms X says she has requested that this information be corrected. She says the Council has refused.
- The Council said in February 2020 that it does not hold inaccurate information and has not shared it with third parties.
- The Data Protection Acts give Ms X a right to ask the Council to provide all the information it holds on her, so she can check if there are inaccuracies. She also has the right to ask for any inaccuracies to be change. Parliament set up the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to consider DPA disputes. It is reasonable to expect Ms X to apply to the ICO.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman