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Nottingham City Council (21 003 225)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 30 Jul 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the contents of a report. This is because it is reasonable for the complainant to raise their objections in court.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will call Mr C, complains about the contents of reports about his children. Mr C says the reports contain allegations made by his ex-partner which are untrue.

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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)
  3. 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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mr C and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
  3. The complainant now has an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I will consider their comments before making a final decision.

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My assessment

  1. The Council has produced a report about his children which is going to be considered in an upcoming court hearing about custody and access to his children. Mr C says the report is biased and inaccurate.
  2. I will not investigate this complaint because Mr C will have the opportunity to challenge the contents of the report in court and I consider it reasonable for him to do so.

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Draft decision

  1. Subject to any comments Mr C might make, my view is we should not investigate this complaint. This is because he has the opportunity to challenge the contents of the report in court.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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