Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 20 Jun 2022
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s refusal to escalate Mr B’s complaint about its failure to safeguard his son. This is because there is no evidence of fault on the Council’s part.
- The complainant, who I will refer to as Mr B, complains that the Council has declined to escalate his complaint about its failure to safeguard his son.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse effect on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if the tests set out in our Assessment Code are not met. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- Mr B complained to the Council that it had failed to act to safeguard his son. The evidence shows that the Council considered concerns expressed about Mr B’s son’s welfare and decided they did not meet the threshold for child protection action.
- Mr B disagreed with this decision and complained about it. The Council responded under Stage 1 of the procedure for complaints about children’s services. It did not uphold the complaint. Mr B asked for the matter to be escalated to the next stage of the procedure. The Council declined due to ongoing legal action relating to Mr B’s son. Mr B believes this decision is unreasonable.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr B’s complaint because there is no evidence of fault on the Council’s part. The Council has used the discretion available to it to decline to progress the complaint while legal action is ongoing. It has also said it is prepared to return to the matter when the legal action is over. This is a decision for the Council to make and it is reasonable in the circumstances. There are no grounds for the Ombudsman to intervene.
- We will not investigate Mr B’s complaint because there is no evidence of fault on the Council’s part.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman