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North Lincolnshire Council (21 018 075)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 11 Apr 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about children services attempts to safeguard a child. It is unlikely we would find fault and we cannot achieve the outcome he seeks.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, says the Council is preventing his contact with D.

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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 continue an investigation if we decide:
    • there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating, or
    • we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. We investigate complaints of injustice caused by maladministration and service failure. I have used the word fault to refer to these. We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)
  3. We do not start an investigation if we decide the tests set out in our Assessment Code are not met. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mr X and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
  3. In considered Mr X’s comments on a draft version of this decision.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X, an adult, says D is pregnant with his child. He says D is 14. He says the Council is preventing or trying to prevent his contact with D.
  2. It is unlikely we would find fault in the Council taking steps to safeguard a pregnant 14 year old girl. We cannot achieve the outcome Mr X seeks of contact with D. Only those with parental responsibility for D or the Courts can agree to that.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because it does not meet the tests of our Assessment Code, we cannot achieve the outcome he seeks and we are unlikely to find fault.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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