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Sedgemoor District Council (21 000 515)

Category : Other Categories > Councillor conduct and standards

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 14 Sep 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr D disagrees with the outcome of a Code of Conduct investigation by the Council. The Ombudsman has discontinued the complaint because he cannot achieve the outcome sought by Mr D.

The complaint

  1. The complainant (whom I refer to as Mr D), and two other complainants represented by Mr D, disagree with the Council’s findings regarding a Code of Conduct complaint.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

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 we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the information provided by Mr D.
  2. I shared my draft decision with both parties.

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What I found

  1. Mr D strongly disagrees with the Council’s decision in respect of a Code of Conduct investigation. He says the Council has accepted lies from a Councillor.
  2. The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about the Council failing to follow procedures regarding Code of Conduct investigations. However, he cannot look at the details of the complaint against a Councillor: that is for the Council not the Ombudsman. In view of this I see no basis to warrant investigation of Mr D’s complaint. That is because we cannot reassess the evidence provided by the Councillor and Mr D; we do not act as an appeals body. Given we cannot achieve the outcome sought by the complainants I intend to discontinue the investigation.

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Draft decision

  1. I have discontinued the investigation.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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