Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 24 Mar 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about charges for Mr X’s attendance at a day centre. This is because the Council is no longer asking for any payment.
- Mrs X complained the Council sought payment of more than her late husband, Mr X, had owed for his attendance at a day centre.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information Mrs X provided and copies of complaint correspondence the Council sent us. I gave Mrs X the opportunity to comment on my draft decision.
What I found
- The Council arranged for Mr X to attend a day centre. Mr X sadly died in 2019. When Mrs X complained to us, the Council was seeking payment for day centre attendance in 2018 and 2019. Mrs X argued the Council was asking for more than Mr X actually owed.
- The Council has now closed the account and is no longer asking for any payment as it understands Mr X did not leave money when he died.
- The main point is resolved as the Council is no longer asking for payment of the disputed amount. I do not consider an investigation by the Ombudsman would be likely to achieve significantly more.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely we could achieve significantly more now that the main point is resolved.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman