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Staffordshire County Council (19 018 605)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 30 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mrs X’s complaint that she and her family have been victimised and discriminated against by the Council’s children’s services team. This is because Mrs X has started court action about the matter and the Court is considering the wider child care arrangements.

The complaint

  1. Mrs X complains that she and her family are being victimised and discriminated against by the Council in relation to the care of her child, whom I shall call Z, resulting in care proceedings. Mrs X says this is causing the family distress.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a tribunal or a government minister or started court action about the matter. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6), as amended)
  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 complaint and the information provided by Mrs X and the Council. I have written to Mrs X with my draft decision and given her an opportunity to comment.

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What I found

  1. Mrs X says that she and her husband have been discriminated against by the Council because they both have disabilities.
  2. Mrs X has received permission from the court to have the Council’s actions in this matter Judicially Reviewed. Because this part of the complaint will therefore be considered by a court, the Ombudsman cannot investigate.
  3. She says that this discrimination and victimisation has resulted in unwarranted child protection proceedings.
  4. The Council has started Court action with care proceedings in respect of Z. We cannot investigate issues which a Court is deciding.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint because Mrs X has started court action about the matter and the Court is considering the child care arrangements.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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