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London Borough of Lewisham (21 001 781)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 16 Jul 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Miss X’s complaint about the actions of children services. There are no good reasons why the late complaint rule should not apply.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Miss X, complains about the Council’s decision to have a child protection plan for her child.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the Miss X and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
  3. Miss X had an opportunity to comment on a draft version of this decision.

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My assessment

  1. In December 2017, the Council decided to have a child protection plan for Miss X’s child. She says this is unfair, based on inaccurate facts and wrong opinions. She complained to the Council in 2018. It replied at stage one of its procedure in February 2018.
  2. Miss X complained to us in July 2018. We told Miss X that she had to complete the Council’s complaint process. The Council last wrote to her about this in November 2018 setting out the options and asking which one she wanted to pursue. It says it has not had a reply.
  3. We will not investigate complaints about events known to Miss X for more than 12 months without good reasons why she has delayed in complaining to us. Miss X has provided no reasons why she then delayed two and half years before returning to us.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because there is no good reason why the late complaint rule should not apply.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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