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Northamptonshire County Council (16 016 719)

Category : Children's care services > Looked after children

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 07 Mar 2017

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint about services the Council provided to him as a care leaver because it is unlikely he could add to the investigation the Council has carried out.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Mr A, complains about the services the Council has provided to him as a care leaver.

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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 is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council. (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 and the complaint documents supplied by the Council. I have also considered Mr A’s response to my draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr A is a care leaver. He complains about services the Council has provided to him and about his communication with his personal adviser. He wants compensation for the distress the Council has caused him and the time and trouble he was put to in pursuing the complaint.
  2. The issues arose when Mr A asked the Council to reimburse the costs of private dental treatment in April 2016. He complained to the Council that it had refused to make a financial contribution and that its communication with him had been inadequate.
  3. Mr A’s complaint was considered through the statutory children’s services complaints procedure and was upheld in part. The Council accepted the findings and recommendations of the Investigating Officer and Review Panel. It offered to pay him £750 as a contribution to the cost of his dental work. It also apologised for an unprofessional comment made by one of its officers and the provision of some out of date items in an emergency food parcel. Mr A believes the Council’s response is inadequate.
  4. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint because it is unlikely he could add anything significant to the investigation the Council has carried out. There is nothing to suggest fault in the way the investigation was carried out or in the way the findings were arrived at. I note that the Council has accepted the findings.
  5. The Ombudsman cannot investigate a complaint simply because someone disagrees with decisions a council has made. There are no grounds for the Ombudsman to criticise the findings of the investigation or intervene to substitute an alternative view. That being the case, it is unlikely he could add anything significant by investigating.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr A’s complaint because it is unlikely she could add to the investigation the Council has carried out.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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