The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Ms J’s complaint, because the substantive issue is about what happened in a school.
- Ms J complains about the Council’s refusal to investigate a school’s misrepresentation of its advice.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about councils and certain other bodies. We cannot investigate the actions of bodies such as schools. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 25 and 34(1), as amended)
- The courts have established that where the substantive issue is outside our jurisdiction, we cannot investigate a complaint about how a council dealt with a complaint about this.
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the information Ms J sent with her complaint and discussed this with her on the phone.
What I found
- The substantive complaint here is about what happened in a school. The school is not a body within our jurisdiction. So we cannot investigate the substantive complaint.
- Ms J has not asked us to investigate the substantive complaint. She has asked us to investigate the Council’s refusal to investigate her complaint about the school. But the courts have been clear: we cannot investigate the Council’s handling of a complaint, when we cannot investigate the complaint itself.
- We should not investigate this complaint, because the substantive complaint is about a body outside our jurisdiction.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman