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London Borough of Barnet (21 018 136)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 15 Jun 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about a social worker’s conduct as Social Work England is better placed.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, says a Council social worker was racist.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate 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 continue an investigation if we decide there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

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

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My assessment

  1. Mr X says a Council children’s social worker made racist comments to him. He believes the officer has been making illogical decisions based on their racist views of him. He also says the officer has lied. He says the Council has failed to properly reply to his complaint.
  2. Our role is to investigate the actions of the Council as a corporate body, not to hold a single officer accountable. It is reasonable to expect Mr X to report his concerns about the professionalism or integrity of an individual social worker, to their professional body, Social Work England.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because Social Work England are better placed.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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