Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 03 Sep 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman should not investigate Miss X’s complaint about a school admission appeal. The Council has offered a new appeal and it is unlikely we could achieve more.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Miss X, says an appeal panel was wrong to refuse her appeal for a school place.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word 'fault' to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
- it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information provided by Miss X in support of her complaint and the Council’s response. Miss X had an opportunity to comment on a draft version of this decision.
What I found
- Miss X says her child, D, attended School Y. D had difficulties at School Y and Miss X felt it was not meeting D’s needs. She applied for a place at School Z. The Council refused a place and said School Z was full. Miss X appealed to a School Admissions Appeal Panel.
- Independent appeal panels must follow the law when considering an appeal. The panel must consider whether:
- the admission arrangements comply with the law;
- the admission arrangements were properly applied to the case.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely we could significantly add to the Council’s offer of a second appeal.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman