Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 20 Jan 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Ms X complains that the Council breached the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and failed to follow their complaints policy correctly when she complained about the breach. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint because there is another body better placed to investigate.
- Ms X complains that the Council breached GDPR by sending an email containing personal details about her daughter to an incorrect recipient. She states that the Council then failed to handle her complaint regarding this breach in accordance with their complaints policy.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. 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 there is another body better placed to consider the complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
- We normally expect someone to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner (ICO) if they have a complaint about data protection. However, we may decide to investigate if we think there are good reasons. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the content of the complaint along with the supporting documents provided. I gave Ms X the opportunity to comment on my draft decision.
What I found
- Ms X’s substantive complaint is about a breach of data protection regulations. The Information Commissioner’s Office is the body best placed to investigate complaints about GDPR.
- Ms X also complains about the way the Council handled her complaint. However, it is not a good use of public resources to investigate complaints about complaint procedures, if we are unable to deal with the substantive issue. Therefore, the Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint because the ICO is better placed to consider the substantive complaint.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman