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Aylesbury Vale District Council (19 019 734)

Category : Environment and regulation > Refuse and recycling

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 27 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the complainant’s drive being blocked when his bins are returned by the refuse collectors. The injustice arising from this is not so significant as to warrant our continued involvement in the matter.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr D, says that when the Council’s refuse collectors return his emptied bins, they leave them in a position that blocks access to his driveway. This occurred in September 2019 and again in January 2020.
  2. The Council has apologised for the inconvenience caused and has reminded the refuse collectors to return bins to the point of presentation. Mr D thinks the Council should pay him £30 to acknowledge the time he has spent on pursuing the matter.

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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:
  • 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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered:
    • Mr D’s complaint to the Ombudsman;
    • The complaint and freedom of information responses sent by the Council to Mr D;
    • Mr D’s comments on a draft version of this statement.

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What I found

  1. I appreciate it is annoying, frustrating and inconvenient when refuse collectors do not return bins back to the same place of presentation. This sometimes means that driveways/access routes will be blocked, and the resident has to retrieve/reposition the bin themselves.
  2. But mistakes/errors will happen, and from time to time many people will experience such a problem with their collection. With reference to paragraph 3 above, we need to make sure we use public money efficiently, so we would not investigate complaints where there has been only an occasional issue which does not cause the complainant a significant personal injustice. In this case, I am not persuaded the extent of the injustice to Mr D is so significant as to warrant the Ombudsman pursuing the complaint further.

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Finial decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr D’s complaint. This is because the matter being complained about does not cause him a significant personal injustice.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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