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Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (22 002 588)

Category : Children's care services > Fostering

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 15 Jun 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s assessment of Miss X’s conduct as a foster carer. There is not enough evidence of fault to warrant investigation.

The complaint

  1. Miss X said the Council’s assessment was unfair. She said the Council removed her foster children.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

The Ombudsman investigates 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 may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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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 purpose of child protection is not to decide whether a person is guilty or innocent, either to a criminal standard of proof, or a lower civil standard. Instead, it is to protect children from risk of significant harm. I have seen the confidential record of the safeguarding strategy meeting that followed an incident involving Miss X. The record contained evidence from witnesses, disclosures by the foster children, and details of previous concerns. This was enough for the Council’s decision to remove the children from her care because of risk of significant harm to be one of professional judgement that was taken without fault.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Miss X’s complaint because there is not enough evidence of fault to warrant investigation.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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