Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 29 Mar 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint that a Council employee sent inappropriate emails to the complainant. This is because the complaint does not relate to an administrative function of the Council.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complains that someone who works for the Council (Mr B) sent him inappropriate emails.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- We can investigate a Council when it is carrying out an administrative function. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(1), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I read the complaint including the emails that Mr X says are inappropriate. I considered the Council’s response. I invited Mr X to comment on a draft of this decision.
What I found
- Mr X has had email exchanges with Mr B. All the emails have come from personal email addresses. There is no reference to the Council in any of the emails. The emails deal with personal matters between Mr X and Mr B.
- Mr X complained to the Council has said that Mr B had sent inappropriate emails. Mr X says Mr B works as a security guard, employed by another company, for the Council’s parking service.
- The Council told Mr X it would not investigate the complaint because there was no reference to the Council in any of the emails and all the emails came from personal email accounts.
- Mr X is dissatisfied with the response and says it is abhorrent to send abusive emails.
- I cannot start an investigation because the complaint does not relate to anyone carrying out an administrative function of the Council. The Ombudsman can only investigate complaints that concern officers carrying out administrative functions. The emails are clearly personal emails between Mr X and Mr B and do not reflect anyone carrying out an administrative function of the Council.
- I cannot start an investigation because the complaint does not relate to the Council carrying out an administrative function.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman