Decision : Not upheld
Decision date : 21 Mar 2022
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Mr X complained the Council missed several bin collections over consecutive weeks. He also complained the Council removed one of the bins and damaged another bin while emptying it. Mr X also complained the Council failed to respond to his complaint. We have discontinued our investigation because the complaint is late and there is insufficient injustice to justify investigation.
- Mr X complained the Council missed several bin collections over consecutive weeks. He also complained the Council removed one of the bins and damaged another bin while emptying it.
- Mr X also complained the Council failed to respond to the above complaint.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- We cannot investigate late complaints unless we decide there are good reasons. Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to us about something a council has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D, as amended)
- The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))
- We can decide whether to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I discussed the complaint with Mr X and considered the information he provided.
- Mr X and the Council have had the opportunity to comment on a draft of this decision. I have considered their comments before making a final decision.
What I found
- Mr X complained to the Council on 16 October 2020. He said a leaseholder at a property managed by a company represented by him told him the Council had missed several bin collections over consecutive weeks in mid-2020. Mr X also said one of the bins was removed and another was damaged while being emptied. Mr X asked the Council to replace the bins as a matter of urgency.
- Mr X wrote to the Council on 8 September 2021 and complained the Council had not responded to his previous letter.
- Mr X brought his complaint to us on 20 November 2021.
- I have discontinued the investigation of this complaint because Mr X’s complaint is late, and I have seen no good reasons to exercise discretion to continue investigating. Also, there is insufficient injustice to Mr X regarding the complaint about the missed bin collections because Mr X is not resident at the property where the missed collections were reported.
- I acknowledge Mr X also complained the Council failed to respond to his complaints about this matter. 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.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman