London Borough of Redbridge (14 019 726)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway repair and maintenance

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 25 Mar 2015

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr B’s complaint about the closure of his road while the Council’s contractors carried out work. The injustice from the claimed fault is not enough to warrant an investigation.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr B, says the Council failed to tell him his road would be closed while repair work was completed. Mr B says this caused him distress and inconvenience and when he tried to contact relevant Council departments to discuss the matter, he was told this was not possible.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. She must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. She provides a free service, but must use public money carefully. She may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if she believes:
  • it is unlikely she would find fault, or
  • the fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained, or
  • the injustice is not significant enough to justify the cost of her involvement, or
  • it is unlikely she could add to any previous investigation by the Council (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have discussed the complaint with Mr B and considered the information he has provided.

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What I found

  1. Mr B returned home from taking his daughter to school to find there were road closed signs at either end of his street. Mr B was unaware that work was planned because the Council had not notified him.
  2. Mr B says the closure caused him inconvenience and he spent most of the morning trying to find out if a Council collection of bulk waste he had arranged for that day would still take place. Mr B says the Council’s switchboard would not put him through to the relevant departments. He only managed to speak to officers after he contacted the Council’s contractors and they provided direct telephone numbers.
  3. The Council collected Mr B’s bulk waste as arranged and the road reopened at lunch time.
  4. The following day, an officer from the Council’s highways department telephoned Mr B and apologised that he was not told. The officer also told Mr B the contractors should have used “access only” rather than “road closed” signs.
  5. Mr B feels the Council ignored him and should have ensured he was told of the road works. Mr B says that although the road closure did not cause him a financial loss, he has suffered hurt feelings and emotional distress. Mr B says the Council should make a compensation payment of £250.
  6. While the road closure caused Mr B some inconvenience, the Council collected the bulk waste as arranged and Mr B has received an apology from the Council for the apparent lack of warning. Further consideration of the complaint would not achieve any more for Mr B and the injustice he claims is not significant enough to warrant further investigation.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr B’s complaint because the claimed injustice is not sufficient to warrant an investigation.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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