Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 01 Oct 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate Miss X’s complaint about the accuracy of the Council’s records about her daughter. The Information Commissioner is better placed to deal with the matter. Or she may go to court to get the records amended.
- The complainant, who I have called Miss X, complained that North Yorkshire County Council’s records about her daughter are inaccurate. She would like the Council to amend its records.
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 or continue with an investigation if we believe there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
- The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone could take the matter to court. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to go to court. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(c), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information provided by Miss X. I invited Miss X to comment on a draft of this decision.
What I found
- If a person thinks a council holds personal information which is inaccurate she may take the matter to the Information Commissioner. Alternatively, she may go to court for an order requiring a council to rectify, block, erase, or destroy the data.
- Miss X said she placed her daughter in foster care voluntarily some years ago after she had a breakdown. She said the Council did not give her any support and this led to her giving up her daughter.
- Miss X discovered recently that the Council’s records say her daughter went into foster care because of neglect. She said that was not true. She said she also discovered recently that her daughter was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome which explained her difficult behaviour.
- Miss X would like the Council to amend its records so that they accurately reflect what happened.
- We will not investigate this complaint.
- Miss X believes the Council’s records are inaccurate. The Information Commissioner is better placed to deal with this complaint. Alternatively, Miss X may go to court to get the Council to amend its records.
- We have no power to require the Council to amend the records. So I think it would be reasonable for Miss X to take the matter to the Information Commissioner or go to court.
- We will not investigate Miss X’s complaint for the reasons given in the Analysis.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman