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Suffolk County Council (22 002 871)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 08 Jun 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint the Council’s social worker has written a court report which is biased and contains inaccurate information. We cannot lawfully investigate what happens in court including the content of a report.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council has written a court report which is based on a flawed assessment and contains untrue, exaggerated information. Mr X complains the social worker is biased in favour of the mother of his child and is against him because he is a man. Mr X wants the Council to remove the social worker from the court case. He says the Council will not investigate his complaint because of the 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 have considered Mr X’s information and comments.

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My assessment

  1. I cannot investigate this complaint for the following reasons:
  2. The Ombudsman cannot lawfully investigate actions which are part of court proceedings (see paragraphs 2 and 3 above). This includes the social worker’s assessment of the welfare of Mr X’s child, the content of the court report, and recommendations to court.
  3. The Council has the discretion to consider the content of the court report, after the end of the court case. However, the Ombudsman cannot investigate.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council’s social worker has written a court report which is biased and contains inaccurate information. We cannot lawfully investigate what happens in court including the content of a report.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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