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Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (21 009 901)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 22 Nov 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about a report the Council completed for the Court. This is because, by law, the content and production of such reports falls outside our jurisdiction.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Mr B, complains that the Council was at fault in the production of a report for the Court.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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)
  2. The Courts have said that we cannot investigate a complaint about any action by a council, concerning a matter which is itself out of our jurisdiction. (R (on the application of M) v Commissioner for Local Administration [2006] EHWCC 2847 (Admin))

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How I considered this complaint

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

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My assessment

  1. Mr B’s children have been the subject of private law proceedings, during which the Court ordered the Council to produce a Section 7 report. Mr B complains that the report is inaccurate, and discriminates on the grounds of sex and disability.
  2. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint because it concerns a Section 7 report. By law, matters relating to reports completed for a court fall outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction and we cannot investigate them. There is no discretion available to us.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate Mr B’s complaint because it concerns a report completed for the Court.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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