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London Borough of Lambeth (19 019 293)

Category : Transport and highways > Parking and other penalties

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 27 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about a penalty charge notice issued by the Council. This is because the Council has cancelled the notice and it is unlikely we could achieve anything more for him.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, Mr X, complains about a penalty charge notice (PCN) issued by the Council. The Council has now cancelled the PCN but Mr X believes it should have done this sooner. He says the matter has caused him embarrassment, frustration, distress, worry and upset. He also claims financial loss and time and trouble.

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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 provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we are satisfied with the actions a council has taken or proposes to take. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(7), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I reviewed Mr X’s complaint and the Council’s response. I shared my draft decision with Mr X and invited his comments.

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What I found

  1. The Council issued Mr X a PCN for a moving traffic contravention in July 2019.
  2. There is a set procedure councils must follow when pursuing PCNs for moving traffic contraventions. When a council identifies a contravention it will issue a PCN to the owner/registered keeper by post. This will detail the amount of the fine and the motorist’s right of appeal, firstly to the council itself and then to a Tribunal.
  3. Mr X made representations against the PCN but the Council did not accept them. He provided further information but the Council says this was not sufficient to show he was not liable for the PCN. He sent the Council more information and it then accepted his statement and cancelled the PCN. Mr X complained to the Council that it should have cancelled the PCN sooner but it did not uphold his complaint. He wants the Council to pay him compensation.
  4. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. The appeals process deals with disputes about the validity of PCNs and Mr X has used it successfully in this case. The government decided not to include provision for compensation so there is no right to a financial remedy when a Council issues a PCN in error. The Council’s cancellation of the PCN provides a suitable remedy for Mr X and we would not recommend any further financial remedy as he would like.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely we could achieve anything more for Mr X.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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