Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 26 Mar 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint that the Council failed to respond to reports the complainant made regarding the safety of his children. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, says the Council did not act appropriately after he reported that his children were at risk.
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 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 an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I read the complaint and got some information from the Council. I invited Mr X to comment on a draft of this decision.
What I found
- Mr X complains that the Council failed to respond appropriately after he reported that his children were at serious risk of harm while living with his former partner.
- The Council told Mr X that the children do not live in the Council area but it had made referrals to the appropriate council area where the children live. Due to data protection the Council could not give additional information to Mr X.
- I spoke to the Council. The Council told me it had made the appropriate referrals to the area in which the children live.
- I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council. This is because the Council responded appropriately to Mr X’s reports by passing on his concerns to the council where the children were living. Like the Council, I cannot share any other information, due to data protection. The children do not live in Bedford so there is no other action the Council can take.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman