The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Mr F complained of delay by the Council in carrying out enquiries under a child protection investigation. I cannot find fault with the Council’s actions.
- Mr F complains that the Council delayed in making enquiries under a section 47 investigation which meant Mr F did not see his son, H, for two weeks.
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’. If there has been fault which has caused an injustice, we may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), as amended)
- If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the complaint and the documents provided by the complainant, made enquiries of the Council and considered the comments and documents the Council provided. I have written to Mr F and the Council with my draft decision and considered their comments.
What I found
- On 19 January 2018, Mr F’s daughter, G, made allegations at school that Mr F had hit her. The school reported the allegations to the Council. The Council started an investigation into the allegations and also into Mr F’s son, H, who lived with his mother but had regular contact with Mr F.
- Following a telephone call on 25 January 2018 from the Council, H’s mother agreed to for H cease contact with Mr F until the social worker had visited her and spoken to H.
- The social worker visited on 31 January 2018. The Council informed H’s mother on 8 February 2018 that the concerns raised by G were unsubstantiated and contact with H could resume.
- The Council completed the investigation within two weeks and no further action was taken. Mr F was prevented from seeing his son for two weeks while enquiries took place. There is no evidence of delay by the Council and I can find no fault with its actions.
- I have completed my investigation into this complaint as I am unable to find fault causing injustice in the actions of the Council towards Mr F.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman