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.
- 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.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- 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)
- 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)
How I considered this complaint
- 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.
What I found
- 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.
- Mr X says the Council has breached his human rights.
- 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.
- I will not investigate this complaint for the following reasons:
- The Information Commissioner is better placed to consider this complaint which is about how the Council handled Mr X’s personal information.
- 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.
- 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.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman