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London Borough Of Barnet (20 011 758)

Category : Transport and highways > Parking and other penalties

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 24 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about minor amendments to a controlled parking zone. We are unlikely to find evidence of fault causing the complainant significant injustice.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I referr to here as Mr B, has complained about minor amendments the Council has made to parking controls near his home.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate something that affects all or most of the people in a council’s area. An example of such a complaint would be that a council has done something which is a waste of council tax payers’ money. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(7), as amended)
  3. 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’.
  4. We provide a free service but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if, for example, we believe:
  • it is unlikely we would find fault;
  • the fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained; or
  • any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  1. 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 that is likely to have affected the outcome. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered what Mr B said in his complaint and background information provided by the Council. Mr B commented on a draft before I made this decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr B lives within a controlled parking zone (CPZ) where various parking restrictions are in force.
  2. Following a request from a local councillor, the Council considered if it should make some minor amendments to the parking restrictions. As a result, the Council decided to replace some existing single yellow lines with parking bays for permit holders. It thus extended the existing permit holders’ bays and increased the parking available to local residents who have parking permits.
  3. To do this, the Council followed the statutory procedure set out in the regulations. (Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996)
  4. The Council advertised the proposal and carried out consultation. Mr B expressed his disagreement with the planned changes.
  5. The Council considered the responses and decided to introduce the changes. While it informed Mr B of this decision later than it should have done, I do not consider this affected the decision in any way.

Analysis

  1. It was for the Council to decide whether to amend the CPZ. There is no evidence its decision was affected by fault. I have also seen no evidence of fault in how the Council introduced the changes. Further, I do not consider any fault by the Council can have caused Mr B injustice that would justify our involvement.
  2. Mr B has suggested the cost of amending the CPZ was disproportionate to the benefits for local residents. For the reasons given in paragraph 3, this is not something we can investigate.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint for the reasons given in paragraphs 13 and 14.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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