Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 31 Mar 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Miss B’s complaint that the Council is at fault in preventing her from having contact with her children and in failing to consider her concerns for their welfare. This is because the complaint concerns matters which have been decided in court.
- The complainant, who I will refer to as Miss B, complains that the Council is preventing her from having contact with her children and failing to consider her concerns for their welfare.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- 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)
- We have the power to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we think the issues could reasonably be, or have been, raised within a court of law. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered what Miss B has said in support of her complaint and the Council’s complaint response.
What I found
- The complainant, who I will refer to as Miss B, complains that the Council is preventing her from having contact with her children and failing to act on her concerns for their welfare.
- Miss B’s children are in the Council’s care. She complains that she has had no contact with the children in the last two years, and that she has concerns about their welfare in foster care.
- In response to Miss B’s complaint, the Council has said that the issue of contact was considered in court. The court took into account the children’s views when deciding Miss B would have no direct contact with them.
- The Ombudsman cannot investigate matters relating to Miss B’s contact with the children. This is because the level of contact was decided in court and the law says the Ombudsman cannot consider decisions made in court.
- If Miss B disagrees with the fact that her children are in foster care, or wants to establish direct contact with them, her recourse it to take the matter back to court. The Ombudsman cannot intervene.
- The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it concerns matters which have been decided in court.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman