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Broxtowe Borough Council (21 007 470)

Category : Other Categories > Councillor conduct and standards

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 28 Oct 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council failed to respond to his query about an email address and failed to deal appropriately with his communications and conduct complaint. The Council has taken appropriate action by confirming the email address and apologising. There is no remaining injustice to Mr X and investigation would not be a good use of limited resources.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council failed to respond properly to his enquiry, in June, seeking to confirm the email address for planning and building control. Mr X says the Council also failed to deal with his complaint to the monitoring officer about the senior officer and member communications and the failure to resolve his issues.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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:
  • 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))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered Mr X’s information and comments and discussed the complaint with him by telephone. The information includes communications with the Council, a newsletter by the group of which Mr X’s is a member, and his reply to my draft decision.

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My assessment

  1. I will not investigate this complaint for the following reasons:
  2. There is insufficient injustice to investigate. Mr X approached the Council as a representative of a campaign group. He was concerned the Council might not be receiving or was not reading its monthly newsletter. He asked the Council to confirm the email address.
  3. The Council wrote to Mr X on 25 August and confirmed the accuracy of its website email address for planning and building control communications. The Council apologised to Mr X for not confirming the position sooner and the reply includes comments from the senior officer and member. This remedies any injustice to Mr X or his group.
  4. It would not be a good use of limited resources to investigate. Mr X says in his reply to the draft decision the Council ‘has gone someway to correcting its failings’ but has not provided a junior officer contact. Although the Council could have dealt with Mr X more effectively, there is no need to investigate the complaint handling, communications, or any action by the monitoring officer.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council failed to respond to his query about an email address and failed to deal appropriately with his communications and conduct complaint. The Council has taken appropriate action by confirming the email address and apologising. There is no remaining injustice to Mr X and investigation would not be a good use of limited resources.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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