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Stoke-on-Trent City Council (19 018 886)

Category : Adult care services > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 19 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint. This is because there is no evidence the alleged fault has caused Ms X any personal injustice. Also, Ms X does not have permission to complain on her relative’s behalf, and even if she did, we cannot consider complaints linked to a person’s employment.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Ms X, complains about the working practices of a firm the Council has contracted to deliver services. A member of Ms X’s family worked for the firm.

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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 or continue with an investigation if we believe the fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. 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)
  3. We cannot investigate a complaint if it is about a personnel issue. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5/5a, paragraph 4, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered Ms X’s complaint to the Ombudsman and the information she provided. I also gave Ms X the opportunity to comment on a draft statement before reaching a final decision on her complaint.

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What I found

  1. It is clear that Ms X is concerned about the issues at the heart of her complaint. But there is no evidence the alleged fault has caused Ms X any injustice. An investigation by the Ombudsman is not therefore warranted.
  2. Ms X says a family member worked for the firm in question, but Ms X does not have permission to complain on their behalf. We cannot therefore consider a complaint about any injustice to Ms X’s relative.
  3. Even if Ms X did have permission from her relative to complain, the exception at paragraph 4 would apply. We cannot consider complaints linked to a person’s employment, or where the only injustice flows from their employment.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint. This is because there is no evidence the alleged fault has caused Ms X any personal injustice. Also, Ms X does not have permission to complain on her relative’s behalf, and even if she did, we cannot consider complaints linked to a person’s employment.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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