Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Middlesbrough Borough Council (20 013 246)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 31 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s assessment of him contained in a viability report. The report will be used as part of court proceedings and is therefore outside our jurisdiction.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council produced a viability report saying he should not care for two children who are in foster care. Mr X says the report is not fair or objective. He says it defames him and could make it difficult should he want to foster in future. Mr X says the Council should tell the parties involved the report is invalid and do a new assessment.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We can decide whether to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
  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)

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered Mr X’s information and comments. I have read the viability report and the Council’s reply to the complaint.

Back to top

What I found

  1. Late in 2020, the Council produced a viability report considering whether it could recommend Mr X to care for two of three children. The Council says the report is to help a court considering the long term plans for the children.
  2. The report makes no criticism of Mr X’s care of his own children. However, it explains why the Council considers he should not care for the children in care having regard to their situation, his knowledge of them, their history, and his comments.

Analysis

  1. I cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint for the following reasons:
  2. The Ombudsman cannot investigate actions which are part of court proceedings (see paragraph 3 above). That includes the future of the children, the viability report and the Council’s assessment of Mr X. We cannot ask the Council to change the report.
  3. The report does not criticise Mr X’s general parenting and relates specifically to the children who are in foster care. Mr X’s concern about a future problem, should he wish to foster, is speculative and there is no injustice.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s assessment of him contained in a viability report. The report is part of court proceedings and is outside our jurisdiction.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page