City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (21 007 111)

Category : Other Categories > Elections and electoral register

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 24 Aug 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about postal vote delay as it is not within our legal remit.

The complaint

  1. Mrs X complains the Council has not responded fully to her complaint about a delay in postal votes being sent out for elections in May 2021.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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)
  2. The Courts have said that we cannot investigate a complaint about any action by a council, concerning a matter which is itself out of our jurisdiction. (R (on the application of M) v Commissioner for Local Administration [2006] EHWCC 2847 (Admin))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. The Returning Officer is responsible for the organisation of elections, including ensuring postal votes are properly administered. In carrying out this role, the Returning Officer acts in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the Council. We can investigate the actions of the Council but not its Returning Officer, when acting in this capacity.
  2. We cannot investigate how the Council dealt with Mrs X’s complaint about delay in postal votes being sent out, for the reason given in paragraph three.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate Mrs X’s complaint about postal votes and the Council’s response to her complaint about this as it is not within our legal remit.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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