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Suffolk County Council (21 003 414)

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 Council’s decision to restrict the complainant’s contact with it. This is because the complaint does not meet the tests in our Assessment Code on how we decide which complaints to investigate. There is no evidence of fault in the way that the Council made its decision, as it told Mr X very clearly the reasons for the restriction, outlined how and when he could contact the Council, ensured that his right to access his own data and to make representations regarding his children’s education was maintained, and told him when the restrictions would be reviewed.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I refer to here as Mr X, says that the Council has unreasonably restricted his contact with it, making it difficult for him to access his own data.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints of injustice caused by ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)
  2. 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 there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating. Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mr X.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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Final decision

  1. I will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because the is no evidence of fault in the way the Council made its decision to restrict Mr X’s contact.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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