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Cornwall Council (21 003 298)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 09 Sep 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We do not propose to investigate this complaint about the actions of the Council’s children’s services in considering her son’s care plan. This is because we cannot add to the Council’s previous investigations or change the outcomes.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I refer to her as Ms E, complains about the content of her son’s care plan, and about the actions of the social workers setting it up.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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:
  • we could not add to any previous investigation by the organisation, or
  • further investigation would not lead to a different outcome. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Ms E and by 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. Ms E made two complaints to the Council which have been considered at Stage Two of its complaints procedure. Ms E remains dissatisfied with the outcomes of her complaints, but we will not investigate the matters further. This is because:
    • We do not investigate issues that have been upheld by the Council as there is nothing further for us to achieve;
    • Although I recognise that Ms E remains unhappy with the outcome of the complaints where the Council has not made a finding, and wants to have her views upheld, we cannot change the outcomes through further investigation of these issues as there is insufficient evidence for us to make a finding;
    • In respect of the not upheld issues from the second complaint, they have been thoroughly investigated. I understand that Ms E does not agree with the outcomes, but there is nothing that we could add to the previous investigation.

The Council has apologised for the upheld complaints, and has explained to Ms E that she has the right to rectification of her file. This includes the right to add her comments to the file where Ms E believes it is inaccurate. The Stage Two report also recommended that Ms E is offered help by the Council to carry out this process. I consider these to be appropriate outcomes.

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Final decision

  1. Subject to any comments Ms E might make, my view is we should not investigate this complaint. This is because we cannot add anything to the Council’s previous investigation or change the outcomes to her complaints.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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