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Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (22 003 224)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 15 Jun 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council’s social worker gave inaccurate information to court. We cannot lawfully investigate what happens in court.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council’s social worker gave false information, fabricated events, misrepresented the truth, and made accusations against him in court proceedings. He wants the social worker suspended.
  2. Mr X complains the Council has said he can resume his complaints but will need to start at stage 1 of its complaint procedure.

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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 will not investigate this complaint for the following reasons:
  2. The Ombudsman cannot lawfully investigate what happens in court or as part of court proceedings (see paragraph 3 and 4 above). We cannot investigate the social worker’s evidence to court including any reports.
  3. The Council may review what complaints it is willing to deal with following court or a change of circumstances. If the Council refuses to deal with complaints which do not involve the court case or delays in doing so Mr X may return to this office.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council’s social worker gave inaccurate information to court. We cannot lawfully investigate what happens in court.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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