Watchdog unable to intervene in Wigan dad’s youngster custody criticism

“/>The Wigan Council was the subject of a complaint from a resident regarding the custody processThe Wigan Council was the subject of a complaint from a resident regarding the custody process

A Wigan father alleges that the council “bullied” him and produced negative reports for a court that resulted in his being denied custody of his child.

The resident, referred to as Mr X in a report from the local government ombudsman, made several allegations about the way the district town hall handled legal proceedings against his son.

A court agreed with the local authority that the child’s best interests would be protected by living with their maternal grandparents and not having contact with their father.

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However, Mr X claimed that this decision was only made after the Wigan Council submitted a report to the courts portraying it negatively.

He also alleged that City Hall had not replied to his emails, failed to inform him of a date for the trial and that this had been unspecified bullied.

However, the guard dog said it was powerless to investigate the complaint as it was a matter for the courts.

The report states: “Mr X makes several complaints about how the Council has conducted legal proceedings relating to his son’s place of residence and contact with him.

“Complaints include the council giving the court a negative report on him, not telling him that a trial would take place virtually after the Covid-19 lockdown began, not responding to emails, bullied him, that Hanging up the phone was rude and unprofessional and threatened to call the police about him.

“Part of his complaint is that the court granted his child’s grandparents special guardianship and the council a supervisory order.”

It went on: “The legal proceedings regarding the son of Mr. X were closed in April 2020.

“The court agreed with the Council’s view that the best interests of the child would be protected by living with their maternal grandparents and having no contact with their father.

“As part of this process, the council had completed an assessment of Mr X’s ability to care for and communicate with his son.

“Mr X was not satisfied with the content of the report that the Council submitted to the court.

“He also says that he was not told that a hearing would take place virtually and that he was therefore unable to contribute to the hearing.

“We cannot consider the essential parts of Mr X’s complaint as they relate to what happened in the legal process.

“The court’s decisions are outside our remit.

“We cannot achieve the results that Mr X is striving for through complaints.

“He asks us to take the case to court and seeks contact with his son.

“These are not within the Ombudsman’s remit.

“Mr X says we need to investigate this complaint because his son is at risk.

“I am satisfied that his son’s welfare has been examined by the court.

“Mr X states that information about his concerns is contained in a report the court saw.

“It was the court’s decision to place his son with his grandparents.

“Mr X is free to seek legal advice to take the matter to court and it is reasonable for him to do so as it is the only way he can achieve the results he is looking for.”

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