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Torbay Council (21 010 597)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 24 Nov 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Miss X complaint about the child protection actions of social workers between 2013 and 2016. The complaint is late and there is no good reason to exercise discretion to investigate it now.

The complaint

  1. Miss X said there was fault in the child protection actions of social workers between 2013 and 2016 that caused her children distress as they were not taken seriously, but that she was blamed instead.

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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 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 complainant and the Council. I also considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code. I shared a draft of this decision with Ms X and considered her comments.

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My assessment

  1. Although Miss X has also complained to us of very recent matters, these come after the Council’s final response to her complaint. She needs to complain to the Council about its recent actions before approaching us.
  2. Although the Council has recently dealt with a complaint about matters from 2013 to 2016, that does not bind us to do so. We may investigate a late complaint if a person was unaware of the matter complained of until much later, or if they were unable to complain until much later. Miss X was aware of the matters she now complains of five years ago. And I have seen no good reason why she could not have complained to us much sooner.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is late and there is no good reason to exercise discretion to investigate it now.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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