The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Ms X complains that a Council officer was rude to her in a telephone call. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint because there is insufficient injustice to warrant investigation.
- Ms X complains that a Council officer was rude to her in a telephone call.
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 would find fault, or
- the fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained, or
- the injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the complainant's comments and the Council's comments and Ms X has had an opportunity to comment on the draft decision.
What I found
- Ms X says that she telephoned the Council in 2017 about an issue that had arisen over her free school meals. She says that the Council officer was rude to her but the officer also claimed that Ms X was rude. The Council says that a senior officer was present during the telephone call.
- I cannot say for certain what was said during the call, and I appreciate that Ms X was upset. However, I consider that the dissatisfaction with the content and tone of the conversation is not sufficient to warrant investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because the injustice claimed is insufficient to warrant investigation.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman