Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Kent County Council (19 019 056)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 28 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss B’s complaint that the Council was at fault in disclosing her identity to a third party. This is because the Information Commissioner is better placed than the Ombudsman to consider the matter.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Miss B, complained that the Council was at fault in disclosing her identity to a third party, placing her in potential danger.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants, or there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. We normally expect someone to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner if they have a complaint about data protection. However, we may decide to investigate if we think there are good reasons. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered what Miss B has said in support of her complaint.

Back to top

What I found

  1. Miss B gave the Council information relating to her concerns about children who were subject to child protection action. She complains that the Council passed this information to the children’s mother, thereby identifying her. She says the Council’s action has put her in danger.
  2. Miss B wants the Council to assure her that she can give information anonymously in future. She also wants the Council to replace the social worker responsible for the children.
  3. The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss B’s complaint. This is because it concerns an allegation that the Council has breached Miss B’s confidentiality. The Information Commissioner’s Office deals with such complaints and is better placed than the Ombudsman to do so. It would be reasonable for Miss B to bring her concerns to the Information Commissioner’s attention.
  4. It is not for the Ombudsman to decide how the Council deploys its staff, and we would not recommend that a particular social worker be replaced. We cannot therefore achieve the outcome Miss B is seeking.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because there is another body better placed to consider the matter.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page