Birmingham City Council (18 007 184)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 27 Sep 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr A’s complaint about a social worker who produced a report for the court. The law prevents the Ombudsman from investigating complaints about the production or content of court reports.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Mr A, complains about the conduct of a social worker who completed a Section 37 report, the procedure the social worker followed and the content of the report.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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 what Mr A has said in his letter of complaint to the Ombudsman and in response to our draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr A’s son was the subject of legal action during which the court directed the Council to produce a Section 37 report. Mr A complains about the conduct of the social worker tasked with producing the report, the administrative processes followed and the content of the report, which he regards as biased and inaccurate. In his view, the actions of the social worker were unreasonable. Had she acted reasonably, he believes the content of the report would have been different,
  2. Mr A also complains that the Council refused his request for a different social worker. He contends that that his request was rejected without reasonable explanation.
  3. The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr A’s complaint. A Section 37 Report is produced at the order of a court to be used in court. The Ombudsman cannot investigate the content of court reports or the process by which they are produced. There is therefore no basis on which to investigate the actions of the social worker. As we cannot investigate the social worker’s actions, there are no grounds for us to consider the Council’s decision not to appoint a different social worker.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it relates to the production and content of a report for the court.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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