West Midlands Fire Service (23 008 231)

Category : Other Categories > Other

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 22 Oct 2023

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the actions of the Fire Service when attending the complainant’s property. We have seen no evidence of fault. However, the Service failed to respond to the complaint. It agreed to apologise for this, which we consider an appropriate remedy.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, I shall call Ms X, says the Service:
    • trespassed on her property in the early hours of the morning
    • harassed her, bullied her, and damaged her gate; and
    • ignored her complaint

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse effect on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service but must use public money carefully. We do not start an investigation if we decide the tests set out in our Assessment Code are not met. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we are satisfied with the actions an organisation has taken or proposes to take. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(7), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Ms X and the Service.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. The Service confirmed it was called by other emergency services (Police and Ambulance) to attend and gain access to Ms X’s home as there were concerns for her welfare. It says officers left the scene after gaining access, with the Police and Ambulance Service remaining in attendance. I have seen no evidence of fault in these actions.
  2. The Service also confirms it failed to respond to Ms X’s complaint. It has offered to write to Ms X to apologise for this fault. I consider this is an appropriate remedy for this part of the complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Ms X’s complaint because there is no evidence of fault in the Fire Service attending her property and gaining access at the request of the Police and Ambulance Services. The agreement to apologise to Ms X in writing for failing to respond to her complaint is an appropriate remedy for this part of the complaint.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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