The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The complaint is about the Council’s involvement in the sale of some housing. The Ombudsman will not investigate the complaint because it has been resolved.
- Mrs X complains the Council gave inaccurate information about the arrangements for the sale of some housing. Mrs X argues this resulted in her and her husband seeking to buy a house and incurring abortive legal fees.
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 or continue with an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council.
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information Mrs X provided and copy complaint correspondence the Council provided. I shared my draft decision with Mrs X and considered her comments on it.
What I found
- The Council was involved in the sale of some housing. Mrs X says the Council gave misleading information that led she and her husband to seek to buy a house but this failed when the correct position became known.
- Mrs X and her husband asked the Council to reimburse their abortive legal fees. The Council initially declined to do this so Mrs X contacted us. However, before we dealt substantively with the complaint, Mrs X, her husband and the Council continued corresponding. The Council then accepted it had given inaccurate information on one point though it denied fault on other points. The Council offered to repay the abortive legal fees.
- Responding to a draft of this decision, Mrs X confirmed her complaint is now resolved. As the Council has now agreed to do what Mrs X wanted, in the circumstances I do not consider an investigation by the Ombudsman would now achieve anything worthwhile. So I shall not investigate the complaint.
- That the Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because the complaint is resolved.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman