Decision : Upheld
Decision date : 18 Sep 2020
Summary: Mr G complained about the removal of street trees from his road as part of the Council’s ‘Streets Ahead’ programme of works delivered by its contractor, Amey Hallam Highways plc.
The Ombudman upheld the complaint and found fault csusing injustice.
We welcome steps already taken by the Council to improve how it consults and makes decisions around street tree removals. But to remedy this complaint we ask that it:
- provides a public unreserved apology accepting the findings of this investigation which draw attention to general failings in the implementation of its ‘Streets Ahead’ policy. It should also provide a private apology to Mr G’s family to include specific recognition of its failings in its communications with him;
- share with us the further detailed proposals it has for embedding transparency within its new tree strategy;
- share with us how it proposes to ensure its contracts and management agreements reflect its new street tree strategy; and
- consider further how it can ensure contractors and managers are aware of the need to signpost correspondents to the Council’s complaint procedure whenever appropriate.
- consider if there are wider implications for how it delivers services and lessons it should learn as a result of how it implemented its Streets Ahead programme. In particular, how it can embed the principles of openness and accountability across all its services. It will write to us with any further action it proposes in this regard.
Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 22 January 2021.