Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (14 018 569)

Category : Children's care services > Adoption

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 complaint

  1. 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.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. 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.

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What I found

  1. 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.
  2. Mr F says he has written to the Council four times about this increase. The Council says it has no record of his letters.
  3. The Council says that it will pay the increase and has given Mr F details of how to claim.
  4. 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.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr F’s complaint because it is not warranted by the alleged fault or the alleged injustice.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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