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 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.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- 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 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.
What I found
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because the matters he is complaining about have been subject to court proceedings.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman