Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 26 Mar 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s refusal to investigate volume levels at a local cinema. An investigation by the Ombudsman is unlikely to find fault with the Council and there is not enough evidence Mr X has been caused a significant personal injustice.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, says the volume levels at his local cinema were too high during a recent visit. The Council has said it will not investigate.
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 considered Mr X’s complaint to the Ombudsman. I gave him an opportunity to comment on my draft decision.
What I found
- Mr X complained to the Council the volume levels at his local cinema were too high during a recent visit. He said the volume was ‘painful’ and asked the Council to investigate. The Council responded and said it did not investigate such complaints. It said Mr X should complain to the manager of the cinema.
- Councils have powers to investigate complaints about noise that could be a statutory nuisance (covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990). For a noise to count as a 'statutory nuisance' it must do one of the following:
- Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises;
- Injure health or be likely to injure health.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint. This is because an investigation is unlikely to find fault causing significant personal injustice.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman