Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 21 Sep 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms J’s complaint that the Council failed to protect her son from harm because we do not have her son’s consent to investigate. The part of her complaint which relates to matters she brought to the Council’s attention in 2016 are late and there are insufficient grounds for us to consider it now.
- Ms J complains that the Council has failed to protect her son from harm while in the care of his father.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- We may investigate complaints made on behalf of someone else if they have given their consent. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26A(1), as amended)
- We cannot investigate late complaints unless we decide there are good reasons. Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to us about something a council has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D, as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the information Ms J provided with her complaint and her responses to our draft decision.
What I found
- Ms J complains that the Council has failed to act to keep her son safe from harm. She brought her concerns to the Council’s attention in 2016 and it carried out a child and family assessment. Ms J is unhappy with the content of the assessment and the Council’s subsequent actions. The Council responded to her formal complaint in March 2018.
- Ms J’s son is an adult. The Ombudsman will not investigate matters relating to him without his expressed consent. Ms J says she has a recording of her son, expressing a wish to engage with the Council regarding his education. This does not amount to consent for Ms J to pursue a complaint on his behalf. The Ombudsman will not investigate the complaint.
- That part of Ms J’s complaint which relates to the child and family assessment is late. There are insufficient grounds on which to use the Ombudsman’s discretion to investigate it now.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because the complaint is late, and we do not have her son’s consent to investigate.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman