Sheffield City Council (20 007 173)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway repair and maintenance

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 10 Dec 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about pavement works the Council carried out outside Mrs Y’s home. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council which has caused Mrs Y a significant injustice which has not already been remedied.

The complaint

  1. Mrs Y says she asked the Council to carry out work to complete vehicle access over the pavement onto her driveway. She says the Council told her no work was due along the street and it would not be able to carry the work out. Consequently, Mrs Y paid to have the work done herself in June 2019.
  2. She complains the Council then carried out work on the pavement in September 2019, which included removing bits of the tarmac she had laid before adding new patches to the tarmac which she says was uneven and poor quality.
  3. Mrs Y feels aggrieved at paying for the work, for the Council to damage it only a few weeks later and says her car now scrapes the pavement when she uses her driveway, which she is concerned will damage her car.

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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’. 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 injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement, or
  • it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council.

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

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information Mrs Y has provided. Mrs Y had an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I considered any comments received before making a final decision.

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What I found

  1. The Council carried out the work Mrs Y complained about in September 2019. Mrs Y complained about this in January 2020. The Council agreed to carry out a site inspection at Mrs Y’s home in February 2020.
  2. Following the inspection, the Council carried out remedial work to the pavement in August 2020. Mrs Y remained unhappy with the work.
  3. The Council responded again in September, saying it had carried out the remedial work to the pavement and no further action would be required. As she remained unhappy, Mrs Y contacted the Ombudsman in October 2020.

Analysis

  1. The Council is the highway authority. This means it is responsible for deciding whether pavement work meets the standards for highway repair.
  2. In this case, the Council has considered Mrs Y’s complaint, carried out remedial work. Using its professional opinion, the Council is satisfied no further action is needed for the pavement to meet the required standard.
  3. As the Council has the authority to decide this using its judgement, it is unlikely we would find fault by the Council which has caused Mrs Y an injustice which has not already been remedied. Consequently, as we cannot add anything to the Council’s own investigation, we will not investigate this complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault by the Council which has caused Mrs Y an injustice which has not already been remedied.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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