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Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (21 004 784)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 26 Aug 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council refusing to investigate or answer questions about the way it dealt with a complaint about it placing a marker in its records that Mr X poses a risk to children. The complaint is not separable from the substantive matter of the marker, which is itself a late complaint with no good reason to exercise discretion to consider it.

The complaint

  1. Mr X said the Council wrongly placed a marker on its records in 2018 that he poses a risk to children. He said it declined to remove it when he asked in 2019. He said that the Council is wrong to refuse to investigate his complaint or answer questions about the way it dealt with his complaint because he only discovered in April 2021 that the Council should have given him a right of appeal against its decision.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We cannot investigate late complaints unless we decide there are good reasons. Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to us about something a council has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. A letter from the Council to Mr X in September 2018 shows he was aware then that the Council had decided to put a marker on its records that he poses a risk to children. He was aware it of its refusal to remove the marker by April 2019. The correspondence between Mr X and the Council shows he has continued to dispute the decision for almost three years. He could have approached us sooner about that matter. His complaint about the Council’s refusal to answer his questions or to investigate how it dealt with his complaint is not separable from the substantive matter of the marker.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because it is not separable from a matter which is itself late and about which there is no good reason to exercise discretion to investigate.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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