Winchester City Council (21 017 895)

Category : Other Categories > Councillor conduct and standards

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 30 Mar 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s response to Mr X’s complaint about councillor conduct as any fault by the Council has not caused Mr X significant injustice.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council misunderstood his complaint that a councillor abused their position which resulted in unfair consideration being given to Mr X’s planning application. Mr X also complains of a delay by the Council of around a year to provide a response. Mr X considers the councillor should be made to step down.

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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 fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained or we cannot achieve the outcome the complainant seeks (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. While there was delay by the Council in providing a response, I do not consider this causes Mr X a level of injustice that would warrant our involvement. The substantive injustice to Mr X was how his planning application was considered and its refusal. The way to seek redress for this was to make an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, who would have then considered Mr X’s concerns.
  2. We have no remit to recommend sanctions on individual councillors and so we cannot achieve the outcome Mr X seeks.
  3. For these reasons, I do not consider it would be in the public interest for us to investigate.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because he is not caused a significant injustice from how the Council dealt with his complaint about councillor conduct.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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