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Birmingham City Council (21 005 988)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 14 Sep 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about a court report and the court’s decision in family court proceedings because it lies outside our jurisdiction. The law prevents us from investigating matters that have been considered in court. We have no discretion to do so.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, complains about the contents of a court ordered report and about the court’s decision in family court proceedings.

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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)

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How I considered this complaint

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

My assessment

  1. Mr X complains about the contents of a social worker’s court report which he says was unfair, and about the court’s decision in family court proceedings.
  2. Mr X complained to the Council about the report. The Council explained it was not a matter it would consider via the complaints procedure because it was about a court report. Any concerns about the report would be expected to be raised to the court during the proceedings.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint because it lies outside our jurisdiction. The law prevents us from investigating matters that have been considered in court. We have no discretion to consider such matters, and cannot do so. If Mr X wishes to challenge the court’s decision that is a matter for the courts.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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