Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 02 Mar 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about a late postal vote as we have no legal remit to investigate the organisation of elections.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mr Y, complains about the lateness of two postal votes the Council sent to him.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We cannot investigate a complaint where the body complained about is not responsible for the issue being raised. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(1), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered what Mr Y said in his complaint.
What I found
- Mr Y complains about the way the Council dealt with his request for two postal votes last year. Mr Y complains about delay by the Council and it using insufficient postage to send the papers to him overseas.
- Mr Y also complains the Council has not dealt with his complaint about this.
- The conduct of elections, including the arrangement of postal votes, is the responsibility of the Returning Officer. Returning Officers, when carrying out duties in respect of elections, act in their own capacity and not as representatives of the local authority.
- We have no legal remit to investigate Returning Officers or the organisation of elections.
- Returning Officers do not carry out administrative functions of the Council when dealing with elections. We therefore have no legal remit to investigate this complaint. As we cannot investigate the substantive matter, we will not investigate how the Council dealt with a complaint about it.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman