Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 16 Mar 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint that the Council failed to pass some money to Mr X’s wife. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complains that the Council failed to pass some money to his wife. Mr X does not live with his wife.
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 an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I read the complaint and the Council’s responses. I considered comments Mr X made in response to a draft of this decision.
What I found
- Mr X asked the Council to pass money from him to his wife. The Council agreed. The Council gave Mr X a receipt for each payment. The Council also gave a receipt to Mrs X when it handed over the money.
- Mr X complained to the Council and said it had not passed every payment to his wife. In response the Council explained that every payment was given to Mrs X and a receipt was given to both parties. The Council said Mrs X had not raised any concerns about missing payments.
- The Council offered Mr X a meeting so it could check all his receipts. The Council set up a meeting and asked Mr X to bring his receipts. The Council said it could not help him unless he provided his receipts. Mr X attended the meeting but did not bring his receipts.
- I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council. Mr X has not provided any evidence to support his allegation of missing payments. The Council has responded appropriately by explaining that it issues a receipt, to both parties, for every payment and by offering to check his receipts at a meeting. Unfortunately, Mr X did not take the receipts to the meeting so the Council could not take the matter further. It is reasonable to expect that Mr X would have taken the receipts to the meeting as a way of exploring his concerns further with the Council. There is no reason to start an investigation because there is no suggestion the Council has done anything wrong.
- Mr X says the Council did not provide an interpretation. I have not seen anything to suggest Mr X requested one. But, even if an interpreter had been present, there would not have been a meaningful outcome to the meeting because Mr X did not take his receipts.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman