Dacorum Borough Council (23 015 022)

Category : Environment and regulation > Refuse and recycling

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 02 Feb 2024

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about a missed bin collection or the Council’s handling of his complaint. There is not enough evidence of injustice to warrant an investigation.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council failed to collect his bin on one occasion and was then rude to him when he complained.
  2. He wants the Council to contact residents when they do not put their bin out to ensure it has not been missed and an apology for being rude to him when he complained.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate 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 continue an investigation if we decide:
  • any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement, or
  • further investigation would not lead to a different outcome.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended, section 34(B))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. One week, the Council did not collect Mr X’s refuse bin and so he complained. The Council originally told him the crew had logged that his bin was not left out but after his complaint. It then discovered he had left his bin out and the crew had missed it.
  2. In his complaint Mr X said the Council should change its policy so that they contacted residents whose bin had not been left out to check it had not been missed. The Council said this was not logistically possible and explained why.
  3. The Council said the officer who had spoken to Mr X on the phone had provided details of the call. This had been witnessed by the officer’s manager. The officer said it had been hard to explain anything to Mr X who kept speaking over them. The officer eventually terminated the call.
  4. The Council apologised for any frustration and stress Mr X had been caused.
  5. We will not investigate this complaint. A failure by the Council to collect a refuse bin on one occasion is not sufficient injustice to warrant an investigation. The Council has explained why it would not be possible or proportionate to contact residents who do not leave their bin out.
  6. It has found no evidence that officers were rude to Mr X but in any case has apologised for any stress he was caused. Further investigation would achieve nothing more.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because there is insufficient evidence of injustice to warrant an investigation and further investigation would achieve nothing more.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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