The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr Y’s complaint about the refusal to renew his Blue Badge. This is because the Council has provided the remedy Mr Y was seeking and it is unlikely further investigation by the Ombudsman would add to the Council’s previous investigation.
- Mr Y complains the Council’s refusal to renew his Blue Badge was based on incorrect information and the Council delayed in sending him copies of assessment documents he had requested.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- 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, or
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
- If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I reviewed the Blue Badge decision letters and complaint correspondence provided by Mr Y and the Council. I invited Mr Y to comment on a draft before reaching this final decision. He has now received the remedy and has not made any further comments following this.
What I found
- Mr Y applied to the Council to renew his Blue Badge. The application was refused after Mr Y attended an Independent Medical Assessment. This found he could walk far enough without breathlessness or significant pain.
- Mr Y disputed the refusal. He appealed to the Council, saying details in the decision, including how many hours he worked and his treatment were incorrect.
- The appeal was unsuccessful. The Council’s appeal decision form commented that Mr Y had not appeared in pain or breathless during the assessment. It noted Mr Y was not taking medication for breathlessness.
- Mr Y complained to the Council. In the Council’s Stage 1 response it partially upheld the complaint in the handling of the appeal, but did not consider the assessment had been carried out improperly. It told Mr Y that he could reapply for a Blue Badge after six months and provided copies of the assessment documents.
- Mr Y then asked for a Stage 2 review of his complaint. The Council’s Stage 2 response apologised for the poor handling of his appeal, including discrepancies in the decision report, and offered Mr Y £250 to recognise the inconvenience caused. It confirmed Mr Y had submitted a new medical report and it was issuing a Blue Badge due to Mr Y’s declining health.
- Mr Y confirmed his acceptance of the offer to the Council and confirmed he did not intend to progress his complaint with the Ombudsman. He has now received the remedy agreed.
- As Mr Y is satisfied with the Council’s remedy and has been granted a Blue Badge it is unlikely the Ombudsman could add to the previous investigation by the Council. Consequently, there is no need for the Ombudsman to carry out any further investigation into the complaint.
- The Ombudsman’s investigation has now completed as the Council has provided the remedy Mr Y was seeking. It is unlikely further investigation by the Ombudsman would add to the Council’s previous investigation.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman