Decision : Not upheld
Decision date : 29 Oct 2015
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: There was no fault in the way the Council dealt with Mr X’s complaint.
- Mr X complains the Council failed to provide him with help as a disabled candidate in the General election of May 2015.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Ombudsman investigates complaints of injustice caused by maladministration and service failure. I have used the word fault to refer to these. The Ombudsman cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. She must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3))
- If the Ombudsman is satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, she can complete her investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i))
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the following:
- Mr X’s complaint to the Ombudsman
- Mr X’s correspondence with the Council
- The Council’s correspondence with Mr X
- The Council’s response to my enquiries.
What I found
- A delivery partner administered the Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund for the Government. It was a pilot which closed in March 2015. The pilot is now being evaluated.
Mr X’s complaint
- Mr X complained about the Council’s failure to provide him with help as a disabled candidate in the General election of May 2015.
- Mr X said Central Government had identified, in a consultation in 2010 that standing for election created challenges for disabled people. Mr X said the Council should have told him about the Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund. He said this could have helped him to stand as a candidate.
- The Council responded to Mr X’s request for guidance as a candidate in the election in April. An officer told Mr X he had contacted the Electoral Commission (EC) for advice on what help, if any, the Council’s Electoral Services Team could provide to him. He said the EC told him the Council was under “no obligations to give you additional assistance as a result of your disability”.
- Mr X complained to the Council in May.
- The Council told Mr X it could not add anything further to its earlier response to his request for guidance.
- Mr X complained to the Ombudsman.
- Mr X’s complaint is not about a service the Council must provide to its residents. The Ombudsman has no power to investigate Mr X’s complaint any further, no matter how much he disagrees with the Council’s decision.
- I have completed my investigation. The complaint is not upheld.
Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman