Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 26 Nov 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the process of registering to vote and a lost document. This is because there is insufficient evidence of injustice.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complains about an electoral roll registration form he was sent. He also complains that the Council lost his partner’s passport. He wants £20 to cover the cost of a new passport.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if we believe the injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I read the complaint and the Council’s responses. I invited Mr X to comment on a draft of this decision.
What I found
- Mr X completed an electoral registration enquiry form in 2018. He explained that the previous occupiers had moved out. Mr X also says his partner sent her driving licence to the Council as part of the process of verifying her identity.
- Mr X complains that the Council asked him to complete another electoral enquiry form in 2019 and that it still showed the previous occupiers. He says it is a waste of time to complete the form if the Council does not process the information he provides.
- Mr X also complains that the Council lost his partner’s driving licence and she had to spend £20 on a replacement.
- In response to his complaint the Council explained that it has only recently received enough information to remove the previous occupiers from the electoral register for Mr X’s address. It confirmed Mr X is registered to vote.
- The Council explained that it did not receive the passport which it why it asked for the evidence again later.
- I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of injustice. Mr X may have been annoyed to find that the previous occupiers were still included on the form but this does not represent an injustice which requires an investigation from the Ombudsman. In addition, Mr X is registered to vote.
- Mr X is certain his partner sent her driving licence to the Council. Conversely, the Council is clear it did not receive it. It would not be possible for me to find out what happened to the passport and, again, a dispute over £20 is not sufficient injustice to require an investigation.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman