Northumberland County Council (23 008 508)

Category : Other Categories > Elections and electoral register

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 03 Oct 2023

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about an alleged error on the Council’s electoral register. This is because an investigation could not add to the Council’s previous enquiries, and we cannot achieve the main outcome the complainant is seeking.

The complaint

  1. Mr X says he was wrongly removed from the Council’s electoral register between late-2015 and mid-2016, despite having lived at his address since 2009. He says this is affecting his credit rating.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We can investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start an investigation if we decide:
  • there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating, or
  • we could not add to any previous investigation by the organisation, or
  • further investigation would not lead to a different outcome, or
  • we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended, section 34(B))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mr X, and the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. The Council has explained its records prior to 2018 do not show the reason why a person was removed from the register. An investigation by the Ombudsman is therefore unlikely to be able to establish whether the Council acted with fault when Mr X was removed from the register.
  2. We also cannot achieve one of the outcomes Mr X is seeking as we cannot instruct the Council to amend an historic version of the electoral register.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because it is unlikely to add to the Council’s previous enquiries and we cannot achieve the main outcome he is seeking.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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