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Leicester City Council (18 010 117)

Category : Education > Other

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 04 Jun 2019

Summary: Miss X complains the Council did not have good reason to ask her to prove the education she was providing for her son, Y was suitable. Although it would in due course have sought to visit anyway, it made its first request based on information that was wrong, and continued to ask for proof even when the actual allegation gave no reason to pursue the matter. This went on for more than six months. The Council threatened to issue a school attendance order against Miss X and maintained its position despite our warnings that its action had no basis. Miss X could have prevented the Council continuing its course by giving it the evidence she showed us. But the Council’s actions in asking for proof would still have caused her frustration in having to justify her actions when the basis for its request was the allegation that gave no reason for concern. Its actions have also left Miss X with an understandable loss of trust in the Council.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused by fault, we recommend the Council:

  • ceases its action against Miss X based on the referral received at 2.57pm on 12 July 2018 (this does not preclude the Council’s right to request a routine visit, not based on this referral, in accordance with its elective home education policy).
  • apologises to Miss X for having based its actions on a referral that did not justify those actions, and for failing to tell her what had been alleged against Y, causing her frustration and a loss of confidence in the Council; and
  • reminds staff that what is recorded about parents should be factual and non-judgmental.

Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 12 September 2019.

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