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Wiltshire Council (22 000 110)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 28 Apr 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint that the Council failed to consider Mrs X’s Asperger’s diagnosis in its communication with her. That is because it is reasonable for Mrs X to raise these concerns in the family court.

The complaint

  1. Mrs Y complained on behalf of her daughter Mrs X. She said the Council failed to take account of Mrs X’s diagnosis of Asperger’s in its communication with her. It said because of that, the Council had misunderstood Mrs X’s behaviour. She said the Social Worker working with the family would speak over Mrs X and was not empathetic of her needs. She said it had failed to consider the Equality Act when working with her. Mrs X wants an apology from the Council and a different Social worker.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We have the power to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we think the issues could reasonably be, or have been, raised within a court of law. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), 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. In the Council’s complaint response, it said there had been a high level of challenge from the appointed Social Worker about Mrs X’s behaviour because of the child protection concerns. It said as the family court was considering these child protection concerns, the communication issues raised by Mrs X, could also be considered there.
  2. We will not investigate this complaint further. The communication issues that Mrs X complains of are directly linked to the matters that are being considered by the family court. Therefore, it is reasonable for Mrs X to raise her concerns about how the Council has communicated with her and how that has affected its understanding of her behaviour, within the family court.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint because it would be reasonable for her to raise them in the family court.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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