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.

Suffolk County Council (21 002 718)

Category : Education > COVID-19

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 20 Jul 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about the accuracy of the Council’s risk assessment guidance to schools. We cannot investigate the internal management of schools.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, says the Council provided schools with inaccurate information about COVID-19.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We cannot investigate complaints about what happens in schools. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5, paragraph 5(b), as amended)
  2. The Courts have said that we cannot investigate a complaint about any action by a council, concerning a matter which is itself out of our jurisdiction. (R (on the application of M) v Commissioner for Local Administration [2006] EHWCC 2847 (Admin))

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mr X.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
  3. I considered Mr X’s comments on a draft decision of this decision.

Back to top

My assessment

  1. Mr X says the Council provided its local primary schools with inaccurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic. He supported his claims with scientific evidence. Mr X says the Council advised the schools to use what he sees as inaccurate information in the schools’ risk assessments. He says the Council’s claims are not factual or balanced.
  2. He says this led to schools putting in place restrictions that have had significant detrimental impacts on their staff and pupils. He says while many of these restrictions might have been proportionate or necessary, it is highly likely that many schools have gone too far, due to the false statements in the guidance template. He says the statements will have led to unnecessary fear among the school communities, leading to further mental and physical health challenges in the community as a whole. He says at the two primary schools his children attend, it has led to an overuse of face coverings and an overall increased sense of fear.
  3. Mr X says in response to his complaint the Council made some changes but also made more further errors.
  4. We have no power to investigate the internal management of a school. We also have no power to investigate how the Council contributes towards this, which includes the content of any guidance given to the schools about how they should manage the school.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because we cannot investigate how a school is managed.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page