Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council (16 017 979)

Category : Other Categories > Other

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 22 Mar 2017

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Council has accepted it was at fault for the error made when Mrs X registered her sister’s death. It has apologised for the error and for the additional distress and delay this caused. I consider this to be a suitable remedy. Therefore the Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint as it is unlikely an investigation will lead to a different outcome.

The complaint

  1. Mrs X complains the registrar omitted her late sister’s surname on her death certificate. The funeral director had to contact the chief medical officer for guidance on how to correct this. Also the executor of the estate could not proceed and Mrs X had to complete a correction form.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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:
  • it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council
  • it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome

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

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information provided by Mrs X including the Council’s response to her complaint. She commented on the draft version of this decision.

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What I found

  1. When Mrs X registered her sister’s death, her sister’s surname was omitted. This lead to delays for the funeral director and executor and had to be corrected. Mrs X accepts the Council acted quickly to resolve to matter.
  2. When she complained to the Council, it told her it was due to a technical error. It apologised for the delay and distress she had experienced.
  1. Mrs X escalated her complaint saying it was not a technical error, rather the registrar had failed to enter the correct details into the computer system.
  2. The Council replied that the technical error was due the details put into the national system used to record the details of the death. It apologised again for the distress caused.

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Final decision

  1. Mrs X accepts the Council acted quickly to resolve the matter. It carried out an investigation, accepted it made an error and has apologised. I will not carry out an investigation into whether this was a human or technical error. This is because an apology is a suitable remedy and I do not consider it will add anything further to the previous investigation carried out by the Council nor would it lead to a different outcome.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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