Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 27 Mar 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council restricting the complainant’s contact with it. It is unlikely the Ombudsman would find evidence of fault by the Council.
- The complainant, who I refer to hear as Mr B, has complained the Council has restricted his contact with it. He says the Council has not properly explained the reasons for this.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We may decide not to start an investigation if, for example, we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
- We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3) as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered what Mr B said in his complaint and discussed it with him. I have also considered background information provided by the Council.
What I found
- The Council wrote to Mr B in July 2018 to say it was considering taking action under its ‘Unreasonably Persistent Complainant Behaviour’ procedure. In August it informed him that, because of the number of complaints he had made and the other contacts he had with the Council, it would not respond further on issues he had raised previously. The Council told him how to appeal the decision.
- Mr B appealed and the Council confirmed in October the restriction would remain in place. The Council also advised Mr B it would review the situation in November 2019. It also provided him with a single point of contact to use if he wished to contact the Council.
- I have decided we will not investigate this complaint. This is because the Council is entitled to restrict contact from people it regards as acting unreasonably. We are unlikely to find evidence of fault in how the Council has decided to do this in Mr B’s case.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman