Halton Borough Council (19 002 743)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 02 Jul 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Ms X’s complaint about the court’s decision to remove her grandchildren from her daughter’s care because it lies outside his jurisdiction. The Ombudsman cannot consider matters that have, or could have, been considered in court proceedings. The law prevents us from doing so.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I call Ms X, complains on behalf of her daughter, Ms Y, about the court’s decision to remove her children from her care.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. 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 considered the information and documents Ms X provided with her complaint.

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What I found

  1. Ms X complains on behalf of her daughter, Ms Y, about the court’s decision to place her two children in the care of their father, her ex-partner. They would like the children returned to Ms Y’s care.
  2. Ms Y says the Council’s Section 37 court report had numerous fabrications, omissions and false assumptions and this led to her children being placed with their father
  3. Ms Y says her children are now living in a totally unsuitable environment and are isolated from their wider family. She says her children are now living in a household with a history of domestic abuse, drug abuse and previous social services intervention.

Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate this complaint because it lies outside our jurisdiction. The law prevents us from considering matters that have been considered in court. This bar also prevents us from considering the contents of reports considered in court proceedings We have no discretion to do so. These matters can only be challenged in court.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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