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.
- 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.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- 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)
- 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)
How I considered this complaint
- 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.
What I found
- Mrs X says that she and her husband have been discriminated against by the Council because they both have disabilities.
- 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.
- She says that this discrimination and victimisation has resulted in unwarranted child protection proceedings.
- The Council has started Court action with care proceedings in respect of Z. We cannot investigate issues which a Court is deciding.
- 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.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman