London Borough of Croydon (19 014 642)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway repair and maintenance

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 16 Feb 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Council did not implement the remedy it agreed with the Ombudsman during a previous complaint about flooding on the road where the complainant lives. But the Council took action which has resolved the outstanding issue and no further action by the Ombudsman is needed.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall refer to as Ms X, says the Council failed to implement the remedy it agreed with the ombudsman during a previous complaint about flooding on the road where she lives.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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’. If there has been fault which has caused an injustice, we may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), as amended)
  2. If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I examined the details of the present complaint as well as Ms X’s previous complaint to this service. I sent a draft decision statement to Ms X and the Council. I considered the Council’s comments on the draft decision statement.

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What I found

  1. Ms X previously complained to the Ombudsman about a failure to ensure drainage infrastructure for her road is fit for purpose. She had complained about flooding over a long period.
  2. The Ombudsman found the Council was at fault for not ensuring the drainage infrastructure was fit for purpose. In terms of drainage, he recommended a remedy involving the following:
    • Within three months of the decision, the Council should write to Ms X and provide a copy to the Ombudsman, setting out when a feasibility study will be complete and when the Council intends to decide the action it will take to manage the reasonable risks of surface water flooding on Ms X’s road.
    • When the Council has decided the action it will take, it will provide a timetable for completion to Ms X and the Ombudsman, and follow it.
  3. The Council’s flood/drainage team advised its complaints team in January 2019 that the feasibility study was nearing completion.
  4. In May 2019, the flood/drainage team advised the complaints team that there was a funding gap for its preferred option. It said the Council was doing ‘further work to improve its understanding on the culverted sections of the Bourne’. There has been no further information from the Council.
  5. Ms X complained to the Council but heard nothing further before contacting this service. This service contacted the Council for information but also did not receive a response.
  6. In response to my draft decision statement, the Council said Ms X is a member of a local flood action which had been informed of the Council’s deliberations. So, Ms X was aware of the feasibility study and other measures being considered by the Council although she was not directly notified by the Council as required by the Ombudsman’s previous decision.

Finding

  1. Plainly, there has been fault by the Council because it did not take the agreed action set out in resolution of the previous complaint. The Council should have implemented the remedy as clearly set out by the Ombudsman. However, as Ms X was indirectly kept informed on matters through her membership of the flood action group, I am satisfied the Council took action to resolve the outstanding issue. I therefore stopped investigating this complaint.

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Final decision

  1. I stopped investigating this complaint and uphold Ms X’s complaint. The Council took action which resolved the outstanding issue and so no further action by the Ombudsman is needed.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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