Kent County Council (19 010 414)

Category : Education > School transport

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 12 Nov 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms A’s complaint that the Council has refused her application and appeal for free school transport for her sons. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault on the Council’s part.

The complaint

  1. Ms A complains that the Council has refused her application and appeal for free school transport for her sons.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered what Ms A has said in support of her complaint and the appeal documents provided by the Council. I have also considered Ms A’s response to my draft decision.

Back to top

What I found

  1. Ms A applied for free school transport for her two sons. The Council applied its Home to School Transport Policy. As the school they attend is not one of the closest to her home address, they refused the applications.
  2. Ms A appealed against the Council’s decisions. She said her children have special educational needs which cannot be met at the school closest to the home address. She asserted that the school they attend is the most suitable for them but the cost of travel places considerable strain on the family.
  3. Ms A attended the hearing at which the Council’s appeal panel considered her appeal. The evidence shows that she was able to make her case and that the panel considered it.
  4. The panel’s role was to consider whether the Council had properly applied its policy and, if so, whether Ms A’s case strong enough to justify awarding free transport on a discretionary basis. There in no evidence to suggest fault in the way it did so.
  5. The panel decided not to use its discretion and refused the appeal. The weight the panel members gave to the evidence was a matter for them, not the Ombudsman. Without evidence of fault in the way the panel made its decision the Ombudsman cannot criticise the merits of the decision, or intervene to substitute an alternative view. There are no grounds for the Ombudsman to investigate the complaint.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault on the Council’s part.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page

Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.