Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Lancashire County Council (22 003 015)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 13 Jun 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council failing to respond to a safeguarding referral. There is not enough evidence of fault to warrant investigation and it is for a court to decide who may safely have contact with a child.

The complaint

  1. Miss X said the Council failed to respond when she made a safeguarding referral. She said it failed to deal with her complaint about this and she now has to face a family court hearing about contact between her ex-partner and her child with no safeguards in place to protect the child.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman investigates 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 may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating.(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))
  2. We have the power to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we think the issues could reasonably be, or have been, raised within a court of law. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
  3. It is not a good use of public resources to investigate complaints about complaint procedures, if we are unable to deal with the substantive issue.

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

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

Back to top

My assessment

  1. Miss X’s complaint to the Council stated she had told the Council when she first contacted it that she had left the family home with her child. Councils with social care responsibilities must consider risk of harm to children. Where the person having care of the child has removed the child from the risk of harm and does not intend to place the child at risk from the alleged source, they can decide there is no need for action.
  2. A court is due to decide the contact arrangements for the child. It is for the court to decide who may safely have contact with the child.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Miss X’s complaint because there is not enough evidence of fault to warrant investigation. Who her child may safely have contact with, where disputed, is a matter for a court to decide.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page