Guidance on remedies

Part 11

Subject specific guidance - Corporate and other remedy examples

The ‘corporate and other’ subject category covers a very wide range of council services – from leisure and cultural services, member standards complaints, coroners and allotments.

The examples below illustrate the variety of such complaints and show remedies of note.


Mrs X complained how the council managed the Coroner’s inquest into her father’s death. Our investigation found the council was at fault. It did not keep Mrs X updated with the inquest and did not invite her to the hearing. This meant Mrs X lost the opportunity to attend the hearing and ask important questions to understand the circumstances around her father’s death. It caused Mrs X distress and uncertainty.
Remedies included:
The council had already apologised to Mrs X for the distress the matter caused her. We found this was appropriate however we also recommended the council make a symbolic payment to Mrs X to recognise the distress and uncertainty. The council had also made the following service improvement following Mrs X’s complaint.
  • Reviewed its policy and system to ensure staff properly communicated with bereaved families so they had important documents in relation to the inquest and were invited to inquest hearings.
  • Provided training to staff on managing cases and communicating effectively with bereaved families.

We found the service improvements were appropriate however we asked the council to provide us with evidence it had actioned them.



Ms Y complained the council failed to properly maintain a pathway she uses to work as a sports coach. This meant some clients were unable to reach her club. We found it was at fault in how it handled her reports about poor condition of the path. It took too long to respond to her concerns.
It took her to complaining formally before it started to act. It kept poor records and did not give Ms Y an adequate service. The council needed to work across departments and failed to do so effectively.
Remedies included:
  • apologise and make a symbolic payment.
  • review what went wrong and consider a joined up approach to complaints involving action by different teams across the council.

Leisure and culture

Mr Y was the secretary of a community club for local sporting league and other activities. He complained the council failed to respond to his requests about work to the club which used a property which belonged to the council. It paid the council an annual fee for this.
After eight months of receiving no reply from the council and the club not being able to use the property, Mr Y complained to the council about its poor communication.
The council responded to Mr Y two months later and upheld his complaint offering an apology and financial remedies. These did not happen.
Our investigation found the council was at fault. Its overall communication with Mr Y was extremely poor which caused Mr Y frustration, time and trouble. Despite saying it would complete the work at the property, the council did not do this. This meant Mr Y and the other members of the club were unable to use the property for a significant period of time.
Remedies included:
  • apologise to Mr Y for the frustration the matter caused him and give him a symbolic payment to recognised this.
  • not charge the club at all for the period members had not been able to use it.
  • put together an action plan of when the work is planned to be completed and share it with Mr Y every two weeks. The council should also provide Mr Y with an officer as a point of contact if he needs to contact the council.
  • provide training to staff in relation to good communication to address the poor communication they provided to Mr Y.

Public health

Ms X complained about support for drug dependence for her late relative Mr Y. The council that commissioned the drug and alcohol support service he attended was at fault because there was no review of his long term drug prescription and no audit of his file. The service failed to deal with a request for records within legal timescales or advise Ms X she could complain to us. This caused distress. The council already took some actions to remedy injustice to Ms X.
Remedies included:
  • apologise for the council’s role, even though the service had already apologised.
  • improve council oversight of the support service complaint handling.
  • ensure service updates long-term drug policy so case records set out reasons for departing from usual reduced dosage policy.
  • ensure service audits patients taking this drug to ensure they get an appropriate reduction programme in line with prescribing policy.

Standards Committee

Although we are not an appeal body for standards complaints, we can decide to investigate whether councils have investigated standards complaints following their policies and whether the investigation is in accordance with legislation and guidance. Where we find significant injustice caused by a flawed approach we can make findings and recommendations.

Mr X complained the council’s investigation into his conduct as an elected member had not followed the required procedures resulting in him being unfairly sanctioned. We found a series of faults in the council’s processes leading up to and during the standards investigation. These included not having a written complaint as required. It failed to provide Mr X with sufficient information about his alleged breaches, it confused matters covered by the investigation, failed to keep adequate records of consultation with the Independent Person and introduced new evidence without making this clear. We found these and other faults caused Mr X injustice and the findings could not be relied on.
Remedies included:
  • apologise and rescind decision notice.
  • improve council oversight of the support service complaint handling.
  • improve standards complaint handling, ensuring written records of complaints, consultation with the independent person, evidence of sharing information and scope of investigation.
  • ensure it considers the rights of councillors subject to investigations to free expression under the Human Rights Act in decision making.


Mr X complained the council recorded his former name alongside his current name on his child’s birth certificate. This was following him changing his former name to escape an abusive father. We found the council had wrongly provided advice for Mr X’s wife and using his former name caused him distress.
Remedies included:
  • apologise for the advice given leading to the former name being added.
  • process a revision to the form for free.
  • share this decision with the registrar’s office so it can consider whether to review the information in its handbook for registrars.
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