Medway Council (20 007 597)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 04 Dec 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We do not have the power to investigate this complaint about the Council’s report about children which has been considered in court.

The complaint

  1. Mrs Y complains about the judgement made by the Council’s social workers in a report which was completed for the court under section 7 of the Children Act. She said this led to the court ordering that her grandchildren should have monthly access to their mother, who Mrs Y says is dangerous and will cause the children harm.

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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 provided by Mrs Y and the Council about the complaint.

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What I found

  1. Mrs Y complained to the Council about the contents of a section 7 report provided to the court in private family court proceedings and the outcome of those proceedings in October 2020.
  2. The Council responded, saying it was unable to consider the complaint because it could not overrule the order made by the courts to allow contact between the mother and Mrs Y’s grandchildren. Consequently, Mrs Y contacted the Ombudsman in November 2020.

Analysis

  1. The content of the social worker’s reports and evidence provided to the court is a matter for the court to consider. In this case the court has considered the report and any other evidence before it made the court order Mrs Y is unhappy about. We do not have the power to investigate a complaint about what happened or what was considered in court so cannot investigate this complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We do not have the power to investigate this complaint about the Council’s report about child which has been considered in court.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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