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Bury Metropolitan Borough Council (19 019 247)

Category : Other Categories > Elections and electoral register

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 20 Feb 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr X complains a letter addressed to his ex-wife, asking her to register to vote, was sent to his new address. The Ombudsman cannot investigate as the organisation of elections is not a Council function.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains a letter addressed to his ex-wife, asking her to register to vote, was sent to his new address.

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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 Mr X said in his complaint.

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What I found

  1. Mr X complains a letter addressed to his ex-wife, asking her to register to vote, was sent to his new address. Mr X says he never lived with his ex-wife at the address and the letter has caused problems with his current partner.

Assessment

  1. Elections are organised by the Returning Officer who, though may work for the Council, in performing this role, works in an independent capacity and not on behalf of the Council.
  2. The organisation of elections is not therefore a function of the Council and so we have no legal remit to investigate.

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Final decision

  1. My decision is that the Ombudsman cannot investigate 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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