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Reading Borough Council (19 016 097)

Category : Other Categories > Elections and electoral register

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 30 Dec 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The complainant, whom I shall call Ms X, complains the Council failed to arrange a postal vote for her to vote in the General Election. The Ombudsman cannot investigate as the Council is not responsible for organising elections.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Ms X, complains the Council failed to arrange a postal vote to allow her to vote in the General Election.

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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 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)
  3. Returning Officers for elections act in their own capacity, not as officers of a local authority. (Representation of the People Act 1983, sections 23(2))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered what Miss X said in her complaint.

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What I found

  1. Ms X complains the Council failed to arrange a postal vote to allow her to vote in the General Election.

Assessment

  1. Returning Officers are responsible for the organisation of elections and work in a personal capacity not on behalf of the Council.
  2. We have no legal remit therefore to investigate the actions of Returning Officers relating to the organisation of elections.

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Final decision

  1. My decision is that the Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint as he has no legal remit to investigate the organisation of elections.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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