Liverpool City Council (23 010 024)

Category : Other Categories > Councillor conduct and standards

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 19 Oct 2023

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about a councillor conduct complaint as there is insufficient injustice arising from it and an associated data protection issue is best dealt with by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained to the Council that a councillor did not respond to his query about a ward issue and then wrongly shared personal information about him with third parties. Mr X is unhappy that the Council did not uphold his complaint. Mr X wants his complaint to be reviewed and for the councillor to be suspended.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We investigate 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 continue an investigation if we decide any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended, section 34(B))
  3. We normally expect someone to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner if they have a complaint about data protection. However, we may decide to investigate if we think there are good reasons. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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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 I recognise Mr X is unhappy that the councillor did not respond to his contacts about a local ward issue, I do not consider this, or the Council’s handling of his complaint about this, give rise to a level of injustice that would warrant our further involvement.
  2. The associated concerns Mr X raises about data protection issues are best dealt with by the information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as this is the UK's regulator for data protection matters.
  3. For these reasons, we will not investigate this complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because it does not give rise to serious injustice and the ICO is best placed to deal with the data protection matter.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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