Sheffield City Council (16 017 258)

Category : Other Categories > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 30 Mar 2017

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s handling of his personal data and subject access request. Mr X should complain to the Information Commissioner if he wishes to pursue the matter.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains the Council failed to handle properly his subject access request. Mr X says the Council has lost and withheld personal information. He says it kept information unnecessarily and delayed in providing information.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We normally expect someone to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner if they have a complaint about data protection. However, we may decide to investigate if we think there are good reasons. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
  • the injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement, or
  • it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
  • there is another body better placed to consider this complaint.

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

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered Mr X’s comments and his response to my draft decision statement. I have discussed the complaint with him by telephone. The Council has supplied correspondence with Mr X including its complaint replies.

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What I found

  1. Mr X asked the Council to provide childhood records including school information. The Council had problems providing the information and delayed in doing so. Mr X complains the Council has lost information and has also lost some of his children’s information. He is concerned information was redacted. The Council says this covered third party information.
  2. Mr X says the Council has breached his human rights.
  3. In February 2016 the Council advised Mr X he has the right to contact the Information Commissioner. This year it says it mistakenly advised Mr X to come to the Ombudsman when it meant the Information Commissioner.

Analysis

  1. I will not investigate this complaint for the following reasons:
      1. The Information Commissioner is better placed to consider this complaint which is about how the Council handled Mr X’s personal information.
      2. There is not enough evidence of injustice. Should Mr X have evidence of injustice, following an investigation by the Information Commissioner he may return to this office.

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Final decision

  1. I will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s handling of his personal data and subject access request. Mr X should complain to the Information Commissioner if he wishes to pursue the matter.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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