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Cumbria County Council (21 004 104)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 12 Sep 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about the Council’s children’s services involvement with the complainants family. This is because the issues raised by the complainant has been subject to court proceedings.

The complaint

  1. The complaint, who I will call Miss C, complains about the Council’s children’s services involvement with her family. Miss C says social workers have provided the Council’s legal services with inaccurate information about her parenting.

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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 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)

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How I considered this complaint

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

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My assessment

  1. The Council has successfully applied to the courts for an interim care order granting it shared parental responsibility for Miss C’s child. Legal proceedings about the case are ongoing.
  2. Miss C complains that social workers have provided the Council’s legal services with inaccurate information about her and her child.
  3. I cannot investigate this complaint. This is because the issues Miss C complains about have been subject to court proceedings and are therefore fall outside of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. Further hearings are scheduled when Miss C will have the opportunity to put her case to the courts, via her solicitor.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Miss C’s complaint because the issues she complains about have been subject to court proceedings.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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