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Derby City Council (20 003 445)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 26 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Ms X’s complaint that the Council has manipulated and diverted matters since her child complained of harm at school in 2016. The matters complained of lack specific details and are also mostly historic. There is no good reason to investigate them now and we cannot investigate the actions of a school.

The complaint

  1. Ms X said there was physical and mental abuse to her child as repercussions for each complaint made, as well as harassment and discrimination against her family. She said her child first disclosed harm by his teachers at school in November 2016 and that she gained no help from the Council, which has manipulated and diverted matters and continued its attacks on her.

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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 complaints about what happens in schools. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5, paragraph 5(b), as amended)
  3. We cannot investigate late complaints unless we decide there are good reasons. Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to us about something a council has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read Ms X’s complaint and asked her to clarify it. I have considered what she said in response to that request. I gave her an opportunity to respond to a draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Ms X’s complaint concerns alleged harm to her son by his teachers after 2016. She says the Council has failed to help her, attacking her instead.
  2. Much of the complaint concerns the actions of a school. It dates from 2016 to 2018.
  3. The complaint about the Council is vague. The Council told me it is not aware of any specific point of complaint. And Ms X has not referred to any specific matter concerning the Council other than its handling of her complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because:
  • We cannot investigate the school’s actions;
  • Even if that were not the case, the complaint is late, and there is no good reason why Ms X could not have complained to us sooner; and
  • The complaint against the Council lacks specific details of fault.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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