Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 30 Mar 2015
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The injustice caused to Mr F by any Council delay in paying a bus fare increase to him for attending meetings, is not significant enough to warrant an Ombudsman investigation. Mr F alleges Council fault in its handling of his claim which is not significant enough to warrant an investigation.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mr F, says the Council has refused to pay an increase in his bus fares to ‘after adoption’ support group meetings.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. She must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. She provides a free service, but must use public money carefully. She may decide not to start or continue an investigation if she believes:
- it is unlikely she would find fault, or
- the injustice is not significant enough to justify the cost of her involvement, or
- it is unlikely she could add to any previous investigation by the Council. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information Mr F provided with his complaint and the Council’s replies to his complaint which it provided. I have discussed a draft version of this decision with Mr F.
What I found
- The Council pays Mr F’s travel to monthly ‘after adoption’ support meetings. It had been paying £14.40 per month. Mr F says the cost increased and he is out of pocket by £6.60. He says the fare is due to go up by another 60pence in April and he cannot afford this increase. He says this means he has, and will, miss meetings.
- Mr F says he has written to the Council four times about this increase. The Council says it has no record of his letters.
- The Council says that it will pay the increase and has given Mr F details of how to claim.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr F’s complaint because it is unlikely any investigation will find significant fault. And the injustice to Mr F, less than £20 per year, is not significant enough to warrant an Ombudsman investigation.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr F’s complaint because it is not warranted by the alleged fault or the alleged injustice.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman