London Borough of Sutton (20 006 082)

Category : Transport and highways > Other

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 29 Jan 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mrs D complains about the Council’s decision to refuse her application for a dropped kerb. Our view is we should discontinue our investigation, to allow the Council the chance to provide a response to Mrs D’s complaint.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall describe as Mrs D, complains about the Council’s decision to refuse her application for a dropped kerb.

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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 can decide whether to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)

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What I found

  1. Mrs D says she spent £123 on an application for a dropped kerb, as she believed her property met the criteria in the Council’s policy.
  2. The Council’s complaint response does not clearly set out why it refused the application. But it did refer Mrs D to the Ombudsman. So we decided to investigate the complaint.
  3. After we started our investigation, the Council emailed us to advise its officer had not followed its complaint procedure. It apologised and asked if we would allow it to consider the complaint through its procedure. It also advised us the relevant team had taken steps to ensure it did not repeat this fault in the future.

Analysis

  1. We normally expect a complainant to exhaust a council’s complaint procedure before complaining to us. In this instance, this has not happened, due to no fault by Mrs D. But, because the Council may be able to resolve the matter more quickly than through a formal Ombudsman investigation procedure, our view is we should discontinue our investigation.

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Draft decision

  1. I have discontinued my investigation to allow the Council to consider the complaint.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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