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Nottinghamshire County Council (21 002 599)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 20 Jul 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint because it is unlikely that we would be able to carry out a fair investigation into decisions made about Mrs X’s and her child’s care in 2002.

The complaint

  1. Mrs X complains about the lack of support the Council have her when she was a child. Mrs X says she had a child when she was a teenager and was placed in foster carer. She says she was assaulted by her foster carer and went back to live with her parents. She says her son was taken into care as a result of this. These events happened in 2002.
  1. Mrs X says she wants to know whether the Council were at fault for the way it dealt with her at the time and wants her son to know it was not her fault he was placed in care.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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 may decide not to continue an investigation if we decide we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
  3. Mrs X had an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I considered any comments received before making a final decision.

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My assessment

  1. We should not investigate back to 2002. This is because we would not be able to carry out a fair investigation into events which took place almost 20 years ago. The law as well as national and local policies have changed and it is unlikely that officers involved will be available or able to recall why certain decisions were made at the time.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely that we would be able to carry out a fair investigation into decisions made about Mrs X’s and her child’s care in 2002.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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