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Lancashire County Council (20 012 613)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 30 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigation this complaint about the Council’s actions which resulted in the complainants child being taken into care. This is because the complaint is late and there is no good reason why it could not have been made sooner.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I shall refer to as Miss C, complains that her child was unjustly taken into care in 2013.

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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 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)
  3. 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 have considered the information provided by Miss C, and I have sent her a draft version of this decision and invited her comments.

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What I found

  1. Miss C’s child was taken into care in 2013, following involvement from the Council’s children’s services.
  2. Miss C is deeply distressed by the decision and has been unable to accept it. Miss C has complained to the Ombudsman about the Council’s involvement in the case and wants contact with her child to be reinstated.

Assessment

  1. I will not investigate this complaint because it is made late. The events Miss C complains about happened some eight years ago. We cannot investigate matters known to the complainant more than 12 months previously unless there are good reasons to do so. I am not satisfied that there are good reasons to investigate the complaint now.
  2. Furthermore, the decision, to take Miss C’s child into care, was made in court, and we are unable to consider anything that relates to court proceedings.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is made late.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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