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Northamptonshire County Council (16 018 152)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 22 Mar 2017

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman has no power to investigate Ms M’s complaint about the court’s decision to remove her children from her care.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Ms M, complains that the Council has wrongly removed her children from her care.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint about the start of court action or what happened in court. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5/5A, paragraph 1/3, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered information supplied by Ms M.

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What I found

  1. Ms M’s children were removed from her care in 2015 by court order. Ms M says that she has evidence the information considered by the court was inaccurate. She wants the children to be returned to her care.
  2. Because the information Ms M complains about formed part of the court proceedings and could be challenged in court, the Ombudsman cannot investigate the complaint (see paragraph 3). Neither can the Ombudsman challenge or overturn a decision made by a court.

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Final decision

  1. I have decided that the Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint because it is about a decision made by a court and relates to the information which was used in the court proceedings. It is outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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