Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 08 Dec 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint about the conduct of a member of staff. This is because it is unlikely we could add anything to the response Ms X has already received.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Ms X, complains a member of Transport for London’s staff was rude to her.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- 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 could add to any previous investigation;
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome, or
- we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants, or
- there is another body better placed to consider this complaint.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered Ms X’s complaint to the Ombudsman and the information she provided. I gave Ms X the opportunity to comment on a draft statement before reaching a final decision on her complaint.
What I found
- Ms X has complained to Transport for London (TfL) about the conduct of one of its staff. Ms X says she approached the member of staff for help, and they asked Ms X why she was not wearing a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ms X explained it was due to medical reasons and says the member of staff went into their cubicle and ‘slammed’ the door. Ms X says the member of staff expected her to ‘shout’ her question through the cubicle’s window. Ms X says the member of staff was racist and has asked for a written apology from them.
- TfL has responded to Ms X’s complaints. It said it was sorry Ms X did not feel the member of staff had treated her fairly. It said the member of staff entered their cubicle because of the risk of COVID-19 when dealing with passengers. TfL was sorry Ms X felt this made it harder to communicate with them. TfL had not retained the CCTV footage and felt its member of staff had provided a justifiable explanation for their actions.
- I understand Ms X is upset by the event which led to her complaint. But TfL has responded, and it is difficult to see what more an investigation by the Ombudsman could achieve. I was not there at the time, and without other evidence, we could not add anything to the response Ms X has already received. The Ombudsman will not therefore investigate.
- If Ms X remains unhappy, she could contact TravelWatch, as the official watchdog organisation representing the interests of transport users in and around London.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms X’s complaint. This is because it is unlikely we could add anything to the response Ms X has already received.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman