City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (19 018 337)

Category : Adult care services > Disabled facilities grants

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 18 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about problems with a wet room built by the Council under a Disabled Facilities Grant. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complains about on-going problems with a wet room which the Council provided under a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). In particular, Mr X complains that there are leaks from the shower and the toilet does not work properly. Mr X wants the Council to fix all the problems.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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 an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read the complaint and the Council’s responses. I looked at photographs of the wet room, provided by the Council and by Mr X. I considered comments Mr X made in reply to a draft of this decision.

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What I found

What happened

  1. The Council converted a bedroom into a wet room for Mr X. I have seen photographs of the work which included a shower, toilet with rails and a basin.
  2. Since the work was finished Mr X has reported several problems. For example, he reported a problem with the rails, a leak from the shower and low water pressure in the toilet which means waste is not always fully removed. The Council has visited several times since the work was completed.
  3. During one visit the inspector found a problem with the rails which were subsequently replaced. The officer explained there was no problem with the toilet but regulations mean cisterns are smaller than they used to be and hold less water for the flush. The Council did several detailed inspections but found no evidence of a leak from the shower. The inspector thought there might be a leak from the central heating system because the pressure on the heating system was low. Mr X denies there is a problem with the heating and maintains the shower leaks.
  4. In response to his complaints the Council explained it had carried out several inspections and, while some issues had been identified and resolved, no leak had been identified and the wet room had been constructed to a satisfactory standard. And, in response to Mr X’s complaint that the sink is too low, it explained that it was fitted to the standard height and the occupational therapist had not recommended a different height. The Council confirmed the toilet works correctly but will inevitably require some cleaning.


  1. I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council. The Council responded appropriately by carrying out several inspections and doing the remedial work it identified as being needed (for example, dealing with a problem with the rails). However, despite detailed investigations it did not find any evidence of a leak from the shower and it has explained that the toilet is working correctly and the sink is at the right height.
  2. The Council’s response has been appropriate and I cannot criticise it for following the judgement of professional officers who have decided that no further work is needed. In addition, while I am not a builder or a plumber, the photographs suggest the work has been done to a satisfactory standard. The Council has explained that any repairs that are needed will be done if they emerge during the guarantee period.

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Final decision

  1. I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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