Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 20 Mar 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr D’s complaint about the conduct of staff when he attended an inquest. Further consideration of the complaint would not achieve any more for Mr D.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mr D, complains that when he attended an inquest at the Council’s offices, the receptionist was rude and another member of staff refused to shake his hand.
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 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 would find fault, or
- the fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained, or
- 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
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information provided by Mr D and the Council’s response to his complaints.
What I found
- The Ombudsman was not present when Mr D attended the Council’s offices and can make no judgement on whether the person Mr D spoke to was rude. Mr D was also offended a member of staff did not want to shake his hand, but that was a matter of personal choice for the staff member.
- The Council has investigated Mr D’s complaint, spoken to the relevant members of staff about how they made Mr D feel and apologised to Mr D. There is nothing further the Ombudsman can achieve.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. Further consideration of the complaint would not achieve any more for Mr D.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman