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Newcastle upon Tyne City Council (21 003 718)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 30 Jul 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Councils actions in taking the complainants into care 13 years ago. The complaint is historic. There is no good reason to consider it now.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, I shall call Miss B, complains about the actions of the Council when it took her children into care 13 years go.

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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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the Miss B and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Miss B says complains about the Council’s actions, including those of 2 social workers, when it took her children into care 13 years ago.
  2. I understand Miss B says she was not aware of the time limit on making a complaint, or of the complaints process. Although I would not have expected her to complain immediately, I have seen no good reason why it has taken 13 years to approach us. Also, the Council has confirmed the social workers name by Miss B no longer work for the Council.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Miss B’s complaint because it is late. Given the time that has passed, and the staff concerned do not work for the Council, I do not consider a robust investigation would be possible in this case.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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