The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about damage caused to the complainant’s fence. This is because the Council has agreed to repair the fence.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Ms X, complains that the Council had not responded to her requests to repair her fence.
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 an investigation if the Council has provided a fair response. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I read the complaint and got some information from the Council. This includes an email which says the Council has agreed to repair the fence. I invited Ms X to comment on a draft of this decision.
What I found
- Ms X owns her home. The property next day is owned by the Council and rented to tenants. In June Ms X came home to discover that the Council had removed part of her hedge while doing work to the neighbouring property. Since then Ms X has been trying to get the Council to repair the fence.
- The Council visited Ms X in early July. The Council has agreed to fill in a small gap in the fence. The Council reports Ms X has accepted this as a remedy. The Council is considering how to prevent similar incidents happening again.
- I will not start an investigation because the Council has provided a fair remedy by agreeing to repair the fence and consider ways it can stop similar events happening again. It is unlikely an investigation would lead to a different outcome.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman