Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 06 Jan 2022
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s actions in relation to Mr X and his son during child protection proceedings. This is because it is a late complaint and there are no good reasons for us to investigate it now.
- Mr X complains the Council was bullying and negligent to him and his son during child protection proceedings. Mr X says a social worker was aggressive towards him and made inflammatory statements. He says the Council’s actions have caused the family significant distress.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- 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)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the complainant.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- The Council closed its case on Mr X’s son in April 2020. Most of the incidents
Mr X raises date back to October 2019. Mr X did not complain to the Ombudsman until November 2021. Therefore this is a late complaint and we should not investigate.
- We have discretion to set aside this restriction where we decide there are good reasons. In this case I have decided not to exercise discretion because it is reasonable to expect Mr X to have complained sooner if he was unhappy with the actions of the Council.
- Mr X says that he obtained information from the Council in August 2020 and it took him over a year to review this due to work and family commitments. It is not necessary to obtain evidence from the Council before coming to the Ombudsman. Mr X was unhappy with the Council’s actions at the time the of the events complained of and so there is no reason why he could not have raised a complaint sooner.
- We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because it is a late complaint and there is no good reason for us to investigate it now.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman