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North Lincolnshire Council (20 002 122)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 07 Sep 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about a request for information because there is another body better placed to consider it. Complaints about data matters are best considered by the Information Commissioner.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complains that the Council will not provide him with information about his daughter,

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We can decide whether to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
  2. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. 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 there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  3. 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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered Mr X’s complaint and his correspondence with the Council. I also considered Mr X’s comments on a draft of my decision.

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What I found

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

  1. The ICO has broad powers to investigate complaints about access to information. The Ombudsman normally considers it reasonable for a person to refer those complaints to the ICO.

What happened

  1. Mr X submitted an information request to the Council for information on his daughter’s educational attainment.
  2. The Council refused to share information with Mr X and advised that if he were unhappy with the outcome, he could contact the ICO.
  3. Mr X complains that he has a legal right to information about his daughter’s educational attainment, which he is not being provided with. Mr X complained that the Council was not sharing information he was entitled to.
  4. The Council did not uphold Mr X’s complaint about not information sharing and advised it had to adhere to information sharing legislation.

Assessment

  1. We normally expect complaints about information requests and data protection issues to be referred to the ICO. Mr X’s complaint is about the Council refusing to share information. The Council signposted Mr X to the ICO if he was unhappy with its decision, and I am of the view that the ICO is the appropriate body to look at this complaint.

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Final decision

  1. I will not investigate this complaint. This is because there is a more appropriate body for Mr X to complain to.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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