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Birmingham City Council (21 018 694)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 10 Apr 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the education provided to the complainant’s son. This is because the complainant has appealed to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. The complaint is therefore outside our jurisdiction. We cannot consider complaints about what happens in schools.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained about the school named in his child’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Mr X said the school could not meet his child’s needs and wanted the Council to offer a place in a different school. Mr X complained about what had happened in his child’s school. Mr X wanted the Council to provide alternative education while it secured a different school place. Mr X also complained about a lack of information from the Council connected to his appeal to the SEND Tribunal.

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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 a complaint if someone has appealed to a tribunal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
  3. 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.
  4. 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))
  5. We cannot investigate complaints about what happens in schools. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5, paragraph 5(b), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

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

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint. This is because Mr X has appealed to the SEND Tribunal. Most of his complaint cannot be separated from matters which the Tribunal will consider. The remainder of his complaint is about what happened in his child’s school. The Ombudsman has no powers to consider complaints about what happens in schools.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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