Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 15 Jan 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Council has agreed to put Miss J’s complaint, which is about its actions before and after she left its care, through the statutory complaints process for complaints about children’s services. So the Ombudsman should not consider the matter further at this stage.
- Miss J complains that the Council
- Failed to protect her from harm while she was in its care 2012-14
- Failed to provide her with a pathway plan for leaving care, which she did in 2015
- Failed to protect her from harm after she removed herself from its care at the age of 16.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word 'fault' to refer to these. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we are satisfied with the actions a council has taken or proposes to take. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(7), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the information Miss J provided with her complaint.
What I found
- When Miss J made her complaint to the Council, the Council decided not to investigate it, because she was making the complaint outside the normal 12 month time limit for submitting a complaint.
- The law sets out a procedure for considering complaints about children’s services. This says the presumption should be in favour of accepting out-of-time complaints. In particular, the time limit should be extended if
- It is still possible to consider the complaint effectively and efficiently
- It is likely the young person was vulnerable or unable to bring the complaint sooner
- There are benefits to the young person from proceeding.
- The Council has agreed to take Miss J’s complaint through the statutory procedure for complaints about children’s services, starting at stage 2.
- The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint, because the Council has agreed to take satisfactory action towards resolving it.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman