Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 12 Jan 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s record of a loan repayment. This is because we could not achieve a worthwhile outcome for the complainant.
- The complainant, who I refer to here as Ms N, says that the Council did not keep a proper record of her repayment of a loan in 2015, causing her distress and inconvenience.
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 we could add to any previous investigation by the Council. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information provided by Ms N and I sent her a draft decision for her comments.
What I found
- The Council made a loan to Ms N in 2015, as a Care Leaver. It said this was an exceptional decision, made in exceptional circumstances. Ms N repaid the loan in full, as agreed.
- In 2017 Ms N again approached the Council for financial assistance. In considering her financial position, the Council found it had no record of the previous loan having been repaid. It undertook an investigation, and eventually found that the repayment had been credited to the wrong account.
- The Council has apologised for the error. It has offered Ms N a payment of £100 in recognition of the distress and inconvenience it caused her.
- Ms N is not satisfied with the offer, as she has requested £400 compensation. She has complained to the Ombudsman and requested an investigation into the matter.
- We will not investigate the complaint, as the Council has already upheld it so we could not add anything further. Although Ms N remains dissatisfied with the remedy offered, it is within the LGO’s guidelines and I regard it as being at an acceptable level.
- I will not investigate this complaint as we could not add anything to the Council’s investigation.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman