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London Borough of Bexley (20 007 788)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 19 Jul 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot and should not investigate Mr X’s complaint about home to school transport. There has been no injustice incurred since the last Tribunal decision. Mr X has applied to the Tribunal again and we cannot consider inextricably linked matters.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, says the Council has failed to provide home to school transport.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a tribunal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
  2. The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) considers appeals against council decisions regarding special educational needs. We refer to it as the SEND Tribunal in this decision statement.
  3. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or continue an investigation if we decide any fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

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

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My assessment

  1. Mr X says the Council has failed to provide home to school transport for his child, Z, who has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan). The Tribunal made a decision about this in April 2021.
  2. Mr X has confirmed that Z is not currently attending school, and has not since April 2021. This is not primarily because of home to school transport issues. Mr X is in dispute with the Council about the right setting for Z’s education. There is no injustice caused to Mr X or Z by not providing transport when that transport should be provided to is not agreed or known.
  3. Mr X says that he is now applying to the Tribunal and he says that “without a doubt we will need to incorporate the cost of safe transport with the cost of any new prospective school, the overall cost can then be provided to tribunal for their consideration”. We cannot investigate issues which Mr X has applied to a Tribunal about.

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Final decision

  1. We will not and cannot investigate this complaint. This is because there is no injustice to Mr X and he is applying to the Tribunal for connected issues.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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