Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 19 Jul 2021
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the level of support the Council’s children’s services provided to the complainant, when he and his children moved to a different area. This is because further investigation would not lead to a different outcome.
- The complainant, who I will call Mr C, complains about the lack of support he received from the Council’s children’s services, when he moved to a different area.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide further investigation would not lead to a different outcome. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the Mr C and the Council.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- The complainant now has an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I will consider their comments before making a final decision.
- The Council’s children’s services are involved with Mr C and his family, and his children are children in need.
- Mr C decided to move his family to a different part of the country. The Council agreed it would find ways to support the move.
- Mr C subsequently asked for £750 to cover removal costs. The Council paid half of this. Mr C complained, saying the Council should pay the full removal costs and a further £2500 for carpets and furniture.
- The Council accepted that it had been ambiguous about exactly what support it would provide Mr C. It therefore agreed to pay Mr C the full £750 as a goodwill gesture, which Mr C accepted. Mr C complained to the Ombudsman that the Council should pay the additional £2500.
- I will not investigate Mr C’s complaint. This is because it is unlikely any further investigation would lead to a different outcome. The Council did not have a duty to cover the full costs of Mr C’s move, any payment was therefore at the discretion of the Council.
- The Council’s failure to explain to Mr C exactly what support it would provide, did cause him distress in the form of uncertainty. However, the payment it made to Mr C is more than what we would usually recommend. It is therefore unlikely we would make any recommendation over and above what has already been offered.
- I will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is any further investigation would not lead to a different outcome.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman