Essex County Council (19 005 255)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 03 Sep 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about the involvement of the Council’s social services in the complainant’s family. This is because the matter is related to court proceedings and is therefore out of our jurisdiction.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I refer to as Mr T, says that the Council’s social services did not take seriously his allegations that his ex-partner was guilty of parental alienation, and did not reflect his view in its reports for legal proceedings regarding their child. Mr T says this has resulted in a court decision against him.

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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 provided by Mr T and by the Council, and I sent Mr T an initial view for his comments.

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What I found

  1. Mr T has a child with his ex-partner. He told the Council that his ex-partner was deliberately trying to alienate their child from him, but he says social workers for the Council did not take his concerns seriously, and they were not reflected in the reports prepared for legal proceedings regarding the child.
  2. We cannot investigate this complaint. Any challenge to the work of the Council officials in preparing for the legal proceedings should have been made to the court. The Ombudsman cannot consider any matter relating to proceedings in court or affecting the decisions made in court.

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Final decision

  1. I cannot investigate this complaint as it relates to court proceedings and is out of our jurisdiction.

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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