The Local Government Obudsman – which is now calling itself the Local Government And Social Care Ombudsman – has just released the latest set of complaints lodged with the organisation, which show a large volume of complaints against social workers in child welfare cases.

The allegations include dishonest behaviour by social workers, unjust treatment of families, as well as errors and deliberate lying in child welfare and child protection hearings and court reports.

The Ombudsman has also released two reports about the way councils have treated Special Guardians. The first is entitled, “Ombudsman finds council’s special guardian policy left scores of families out of pocket,” whilst the second is called, “Ombudsman challenges councils to ensure appropriate support provided for special guardians.”

We’re adding summaries of the complaints below, many of which were not resolved by the Ombudsman, either due to the case not being within their jurisdiction or because the action required was not something they could carry out.

London Borough of Croydon 

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint about the actions of a social worker and a Section 7 Report prepared by the Council’s children’s services department. This is because the issues have been the subject of court proceedings and are out of our jurisdiction.

The complainant says that a social worker for the Council:

  • Is refusing to allow contact between Mr F’s mother and his daughter;
  • Has contacted his probation officer and revoked permission for Mr F’s contact letters;
  • Has shared Mr F’s probation file with his mother, without his consent, as part of a Section 7 Report compiled for court;
  • Has compiled a biased and inaccurate Section 7 Report; and
  • Has refused to consider Mr F’s concerns regarding his daughter’s stepfather.
  • Mr F also complains that the Council has refused to investigate this complaint on the grounds that there are on-going court proceedings regarding care and contact of his daughter.

Nottinghamshire County Council

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s response to malicious child protection allegations made against the complainant. This is because we cannot achieve the outcomes that the complainant seeks.

The complainant says that the Council:

  • Has handled poorly safeguarding procedures following an allegation about the care provided by her for their grandchildren;
  • Should have taken into consideration the history of malicious and untrue allegations instigated by the children’s paternal grandparents;
  • Has refused to remove the allegation from her file; and
  • Has not fully complied with a Subject Access Request made by the her and her husband.

Leeds City Council

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the conduct of a Section 47 child protection investigation. This is because there is nothing further that he could add to the Council’s investigation and response.

The complainant says that the Council:

  • Inappropriately interviewed his daughter, D, for whom he has parental responsibility, without his consent;
  • Did not provide him with sufficient information about why she was interviewed; and;
  • Delayed in responding to his complaint.

London Borough of Sutton

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint alleging a social worker lied in a court report. This is because it has been used in court proceedings.

The complainant says social workers lied in a report and told lies in court.

Nottinghamshire County Council

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint alleging a social worker lied in a report written for court. This is because it has been used in court proceedings.

The complainant, who I shall refer to as Mrs X, says social workers told lies in a report relied on in court.

Devon County Council

Summary: The Council provided Mrs X’s abusive husband with information about her whereabouts. However, there was evidence Mrs X had invited him to her home and so she was not caused an injustice by the Council’s actions. The Ombudsman cannot investigate the Council’s decision to start care proceedings as this was dealt with by the court.

Mrs X complains that the Council has removed her child from her care. She says the Council has refused to move contact visits even though she has difficulties travelling to see her child. Mrs X says the Council refused to postpone a court hearing when she was hospitalised but agreed to postpone the hearing because a psychiatrist was ill.
Mrs X says the Council told her abusive ex-husband where she was living putting her at risk.

Isle of Wight Council

We cannot investigate Mrs M’s complaint about how the Council dealt with a complaint about the accuracy of a report its children services team produced for a Court.

The complainant says the Council failed to reply properly to a complaint she made about its reports given to a Court.

If nothing else, the above cases show a clear need for a body of some kind to be able to address these issues swiftly, and ensure that they do not affect the outcomes of cases.

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