London Borough of Camden (23 015 528)

Category : Transport and highways > Parking and other penalties

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 08 Feb 2024

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about a Penalty Charge Notice because Mr Y has already appealed to the London Tribunals about the same matter.

The complaint

  1. Mr Y complained the Council failed to make a reasonable adjustment to cancel a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) after he, as a disabled driver, after he did not see signs for restrictions while looking for disabled parking while trying to attend a hospital appointment.
  2. Mr Y says this has caused him distress and financial difficulty.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a tribunal or a government minister or started court action about the matter. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6), as amended)
  2. London Tribunals considers parking and moving traffic offence appeals for London.
  3. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or continue an investigation if we decide there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended, section 34(B))
  4. We consider whether there was fault in the way an organisation made its decision. If there was no fault in how the organisation made its decision, we cannot question the outcome. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information Mr Y and Council provided and the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr Y has appealed the validity of the PCN to the London Tribunals, who have rejected his appeal. As he has already appealed to the relevant tribunal, we cannot by law investigate his complaint.
  2. As part of Mr Y’s appeal, he explained his reasons for the alleged contravention, but specifically stated that as a result of his circumstances he considered the contravention had not occurred. It is therefore arguable that Mr Y did not present the Council with any mitigating circumstances to consider cancelling the PCN.
  3. However, in the Council’s notice of rejection of Mr Y’s representations, it confirms that it had considered his points but had not found that this was sufficient mitigation to cancel the PCN.
  4. 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.
  5. The Council has considered its discretion and the information Mr Y provided. It has chosen not to cancel the PCN. As the Council has considered the decision properly, we would be unlikely to find fault. Therefore, we will not investigate.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr Y’s complaint because Mr Y has already appealed to the London Tribunals about the same matter.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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