Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 15 Jun 2022
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint about foster care processes as she has appealed to the Independent Review Mechanism.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mrs X, complains about the Council’s fostering team’s approach to them and its process leading to it deciding to deregister them.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse effect 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 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)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by Mrs X and the Council.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- The Council approved Mrs X as a foster carer in November 2020. In March 2021, following an incident, the Council carried out a safeguarding investigation. Mrs X disputes the Council’s assessment report. She complained. It seems the Council put Mrs X’s foster care registration on hold and planned to hold a foster panel meeting to consider their registration. It held this in April 2022 and decided to deregister Mrs X. Mrs X is appealing this decision to the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM).
- The IRM provides an independent scrutiny of Council’s foster panel’s decisions. It can recommend the Council reverse the de registration.
- Mrs X’s complaint about the assessment accuracy, and delays since, are linked to the IRM decision. Some aspects will be covered by their consideration. Others, such as delay, may not, but we cannot assess the injustice to Mrs X of any delays or faults until we know the IRM outcome and the Council’s response to it.
- We will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint because it is not right to investigate while the IRM considers the case.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman