Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (23 000 655)

Category : Other Categories > Elections and electoral register

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 10 May 2023

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about a decision not to accept Mr X’s nomination to stand as a candidate in a local election. The actions of the Returning Officer are outside our jurisdiction.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained the Council wrongly refused to accept his nomination to stand for councillor in local elections.

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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 the actions of Returning Officers. (Local government Act 1974, sections 25 and 34A, as amended)

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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 role of Returning Officer is to ensure that an election is administered effectively. The Officer has overall responsibility for the conduct of the election process starting from the publication of the notice of election through to the declaration of the result.
  2. The Returning Officer is usually a Council officer, appointed for the purpose in local elections. The actions of the Returning Officer are not within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.
  3. Mr X’s complaint is about the administration of the nominations process. This role is the responsibility of the Returning Officer. Although employed by the Council, the officer was acting in their role as Returning Officer when they decided they would not accept Mr X’s nomination. Therefore, we cannot investigate their actions.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because it relates to the actions of the Returning Officer, which is out of our jurisdiction.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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