Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 14 Jun 2022
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about poor communication by the Council about Ms X’s child or issuing a new Education Health and Care Plan. Investigation would be unlikely to lead to any worthwhile outcome.
- Ms X said the Council failed to send her a copy of an updated Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan for her child six months after it was reviewed and other faults in communication. She complained the Council is failing to correctly meet her child’s special educational needs (SEN). She said the Council was late providing her with minutes and was not responding to her correspondence.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We may investigate complaints made on behalf of someone else if they have given their consent. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26A(1), as amended)
- The Ombudsman investigates 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 may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide:
- further investigation would not lead to a different outcome, or
- we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the complainant.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- Ms X’s child is looked after and does not live with her. The child is due shortly to reach adulthood. Her child has an advocate and has previously made clear that they do not wish Ms X to complain on their behalf, though they are happy for Ms X to receive some information. We previously declined to investigate complaint 21 004 347 because we did not have her child’s consent to complain on their behalf. We also decided in complaint 21 013 258, which was about delay in sending Ms X minutes of a meeting, and thus a complaint about the Council’s actions in relation to her, not her child, that the injustice to her was insignificant.
- It therefore follows that, as we still have no consent from Ms X’s child, we will not investigate any element of a complaint that purports to me on the child’s behalf.
- Regarding communication with Ms X, any injustice caused to her is not likely to be enough to warrant investigation. This is because the main purpose of receiving such information as her child is willing for her to receive is likely to be representing the child, which she does not have the child’s consent to do.
- We will not investigate Ms X’s complaint. This would be unlikely to lead to a worthwhile outcome because:
- We do not have consent for her to represent her child; and
- Any injustice to Ms X from poor communication separable from representing her child would not be enough to warrant investigation.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman