Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 20 Jul 2021
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s actions in relation to allegations of historical and on-going abuse. This is because the complaint does not meet the tests in our Assessment Code on how we decide which complaints to investigate. There is no evidence to support the allegations made against the Council. Additionally the events complained of to the Council date from many years ago when the complainant was a child, and that part of the complaint is therefore made late. There are no good reasons to exercise our discretion to investigate the complaint now.
- The complainant, who I refer to here as Ms M, says that she was subjected to abuse as a child, and that the Council has continued to abuse her.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- 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/care provider has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D, as amended)
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or continue an investigation if we decide there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- I will not investigate Ms M’s complaint because the substantive complaint is made late, and there is no evidence to support the on-going allegations against the Council.
Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman