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Kent County Council (20 012 021)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 23 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about the contents of a report the Council produced in court, or the issue of the complainant’s contact with his daughter. This is because these matters have been subject to court proceedings.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I shall refer to as Mr X, complains about the contents of a report that the Council’s children’s services produced in court. Mr X also complains about the lack of contact he has with one of his children.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  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 have considered Mr X’s complaint and the Council’s response. I have invited Mr X to comment on a draft version of this decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr X applied to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order. Before deciding the case, the Court asked the Council to complete a report, which the Council later produced in court.
  2. Mr X disagreed about the contents of the report and complained to the Council. Mr X also complained about the lack of contact that he was having with one of his children.
  3. The Council said Mr X had the opportunity to dispute its contents in court, and that the matter of contact between he and his child had also been considered in court.

Assessment

  1. I cannot investigate Ms X’s complaint about the contents of the Council’s report, or matters relating to the level of contact he has with one of his children.
  2. This is because both these issues have been considered in court, and the law does not allow us to investigate anything which forms part of legal proceedings.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because the matters he is complaining about have been subject to court proceedings.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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