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North Yorkshire County Council (21 005 657)

Category : Education > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 14 Sep 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about the disclosure of information by a school and the Council’s management of Mrs B’s subsequent complaint. This is because the substantive matter relates to the actions of a school.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Mrs B, complains that her son’s previous school was at fault in disclosing information to his new school, and that the Council was at fault in dealing with her complaint about the matter.

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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 complaints about what happens in schools. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5, paragraph 5(b), as amended)
  3. 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))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mrs B complains about information sent from her son’s previous school to his new school. She also complains about how the Council managed her subsequent complaint.
  2. These matters fall outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. The law prevents us from looking at the actions of a school, so we cannot consider the substantive matter leading to the complaint. That being the case, we cannot investigate how the Council managed the complaints procedure on the school’s behalf. There is no discretion available to us on this matter.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate Mrs B’s complaint because it relates to the actions of a school.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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