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Cheshire East Council (21 003 132)

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

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 13 Sep 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint that the Council delayed responding to a request for financial support. This is because there is insufficient evidence of injustice.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mrs X, complains the Council delayed responding to her request for financial support. Mrs X looks after a grandchild and asked for support.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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 an investigation if we decide:
  • any fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained, or
  • any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mrs X and the Council. I also considered our Assessment Code and invited Mrs X to comment on a draft of this decision.

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My assessment

  1. Mrs X cares for a grandchild and has a Child Arrangement Order (CAO). Mrs X contacted the Council in January to ask about allowances. She spoke to a social worker in March who made some enquiries but there is no evidence he passed the information to Mrs X.
  2. In May the Council explained that another council (Council A) had been involved with the CAO and Mrs X would need to contact Council A about support. Council A invited Mrs X to apply for support but indicated support might only be available in exceptional circumstances. Mrs X has not applied to Council A for support because it said an application might be unsuccessful.
  3. The Council apologised to Mrs X for its delayed response.
  4. I will not investigate this complaint because there is insufficient evidence of injustice. The Council delayed responding to Mrs X’s enquiry. But, it explained that any support would have to come from Council A. Mrs X has not applied to Council A for help so the delay from the Council has not caused an injustice requiring an investigation.

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Final decision

  1. I will not investigate this complaint because there is insufficient evidence of injustice.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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