Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 28 Jul 2021
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it concerns matters which have been decided in court.
- Miss Y complains the Council lied about her on various documents and reports provided to the court. She says the Council failed to act on or report concerns around the care her children received from their father to the court. She also complains the Council failed to properly consider her complaints.
- Miss Y says this has caused her distress and has led to her children being incorrectly placed in their father’s care.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- 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)
- We have the power to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we think the issues could reasonably be, or have been, raised within a court of law. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
- It is not a good use of public resources to investigate complaints about complaint procedures, if we are unable to deal with the substantive issue.
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information Miss Y and the Council provided, as well as the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- The court considered the information the Council, Miss Y and her children’s father provided as part of proceedings about residency and contact arrangements for their children. The court made a Child Arrangement Order in favour of the children’s father.
- Miss Y complained to the Council in May 2021. The Council responded in May and July 2021. It did not uphold Miss Y’s complaints. Miss Y asked us to investigate her complaint.
- The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it concerns matters which have been decided in court. The content of the Council’s reports is a matter for the court alone. If Miss Y disagrees with the court’s decision or the content of the reports, she would need to raise this with the court.
- As we cannot investigate the substantive issue in this complaint, it is not a good use of public resources to investigate Miss Y’s complaint about the Council’s handling of her complaint.
- We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it concerns matters which have been decided in court.
Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman