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Bath and North East Somerset Council (17 018 303)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway repair and maintenance

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 28 Mar 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr B’s complaint the Council has failed to ensure a telecommunications company reinstates the pavements back to their original condition. Further consideration of the complaint is unlikely to find fault or a significant personal injustice to Mr B.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr B, complains the Council has decided not to take any action against a telecommunications company (Company X) that did not reinstate the pavement to its original condition after installing fibre cables. Mr B says there used to be edging stones to the grass verges but Company X did not replace these.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints of injustice caused by ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. 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)
  2. 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 significant injustice to the person who complained, 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, or
  • there is another body better placed to consider this complaint

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended) )

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the information Mr B provided when he made his complaint. I sent a draft decision to Mr B and invited comments.

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What I found

  1. When Mr B contacted the Council to complain Company X had not reinstated the pavements to their original condition, the Council investigated. It asked Company X to carry out some improvements and is satisfied with the completed work.
  2. Mr B has explained that Company X has failed to replace the edging stones to the grass verges. The Council says there is no evidence there were edging stones in that location and it cannot force Company X to replace them without any evidence.
  3. While Mr B is unhappy with the way the Council has dealt with this matter, I do not propose to investigate this complaint. The Ombudsman cannot question the Council’s decision that Company X has satisfactorily reinstated the pavement, unless there is evidence of fault with the way the Council made that decision.
  4. Further investigation of the complaint is unlikely to find fault by the Council. It has reached its decision after visiting the site, viewing the condition of the pavement and considering ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs.
  5. Even if I considered there may be fault by the Council, the claimed injustice to Mr B of the missing grass verge edging stones is not significant enough to warrant further investigation by the Ombudsman. The restriction in paragraph 3 applies.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because further investigation of the complaint is unlikely to find fault or a significant personal injustice to Mr B.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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