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Surrey County Council (19 000 174)

Category : Children's care services > Friends and family carers

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 16 May 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint that the Council shared his personal information without his consent. This is because he may bring the matter to the attention of the Information Commissioner.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Mr A, complains that the Council has shared his personal information without his consent.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. We normally expect someone to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner if they have a complaint about data protection. However, we may decide to investigate if we think there are good reasons. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered what Mr A has said in support of his complaint.

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What I found

  1. Mr A says he provided information to the Council on the understanding that it would not be shared with a third party. He complains that the Council did share the information and that, as a result, he and his wife have been subject to threats. He further complains that the Council shared the fact that threats had been made.
  2. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint. Complaints about the disclosure of information can be brought to the attention of the Information Commissioner, who it better placed than the Ombudsman to consider them.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because he may bring his complaint to the attention of the Information Commissioner.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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