London Borough of Lambeth (20 006 363)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 07 Dec 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council has failed to arrange a psychiatric assessment. He has recently appointed solicitors to handle a redress application to which this relates and it is reasonable to expect that process to continue.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, says the Council has refused to arrange psychiatrist appointments for him.

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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 it would be reasonable for the person to ask for a council review or appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information Mr X provided with his complaint and the Council’s response. Mr X had the opportunity to comment on a draft version of this decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr X applied to the Council through its procedure for redress for harm in care. The psychiatric assessment is part of that process. The Council says it tried to arrange this but Mr X did not supply the required information. It says his correspondence became too frequent with threatening and defamatory statements. It decided to block his correspondence.
  2. The Council says it has recently been approached by solicitors acting on Mr X’s behalf and the process to get the assessments is starting again. It is hopeful this can be achieved more productively through Mr X’s solicitors.
  3. Given the recent progress, it is not appropriate for us to investigate Mr X’s complaint at this stage. It is reasonable to expect Mr X to provide the requested information and correspond cooperatively in a respectful manner which hopefully will now be the case via his solicitors.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is reasonable to expect Mr X to use the redress process.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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