The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s failure to compensate Mr X for applying an incorrect date to his housing application. Any investigation would not lead to a different outcome because the Council did not cause Mr X significant injustice. We would also not be able to achieve the outcome he would like.
- Mr X says the Council failed to adequately compensate him when it admitted to applying an incorrect date to his application for housing.
- Mr X says the apology he received was not enough and the Council should provide a financial remedy and offer him a secure tenancy.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- 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:
- further investigation would not lead to a different outcome, or
- we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A (6))
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the Mr X and the Council.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- The Council accepted it applied the wrong date to Mr X’s housing application and placed him in the wrong position in the housing queue.
- However, the Council rectified his position as soon as it became aware of this.
- As a result, Mr X has not suffered a disadvantage as he was put back in the position he would have been had the error not occurred.
- Therefore, the apology given by the Council is a sufficient remedy for this. Any offer of a secure tenancy would be putting Mr X in a better position than he would have been, which would be unfair to other people.
- We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because any investigation would not lead to a different outcome and we cannot achieve what he wants.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman