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Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (17 005 760)

Category : Other Categories > Elections and electoral register

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 04 Aug 2017

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr B’s complaint about the delivery of local election poll cards because management of the election process was the responsibility of the Returning Officer who acts in a personal capacity.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall refer to as Mr B, complained that when the Council hand delivered local election poll cards they were left hanging out of the letterbox.

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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. The Ombudsman investigates alleged maladministration caused by administrative actions of authorities in jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(1)(a))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the information Mr B provide and given him an opportunity to comment on my draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr B says, when poll cards are left hanging out of letterboxes, it indicates the premises are empty and personal details are visible to people passing by.
  2. Mr B is complaining about the administration of a local election. The management of the election process was the responsibility of the Returning Officer who works in a personal capacity and not as an employee of the Council. The complaint is not, therefore, about an administrative function of the Council so the Ombudsman cannot investigate it.
  3. Mr B has also complained about the Council’s failure to reply to his complaint. The Ombudsman will not investigate a complaint about the Council’s complaint handling when he cannot investigate the issue which gave rise to the complaint.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr B’s complaint because management of the election process was the responsibility of the Returning Officer who acts in a personal capacity.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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