Vexatious and persistent behaviour policy
Referring unreasonable or persistent complainants to the Local Government or Housing Ombudsman
The Ombudsman will normally only consider complaints if the complainant has exhausted the two stages of the council’s complaints procedure.
In some cases, relations between the council and complainants break down completely while complaints are under investigation and we may not achieve a satisfactory outcome. In such circumstances, there may be little purpose in following all the stages of the complaints procedure. Where this occurs, the Ombudsman may be prepared to consider a complaint before the procedure has run its course.
The role of the Ombudsman is to investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’ and whether any ‘fault’ by the council had an adverse impact on the complainant. The Ombudsman does not question whether a decision by the council is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ simply because the complainant disagrees with it. They only consider whether there was any fault in the way the decision was reached.
In the case of complaints relating to a council housing tenancy or lease, prior to approaching the Housing Ombudsman the tenant (including leaseholders) has the right under the Localism Act of 2011 to refer the matter to a “Designated Person” which currently is a Councillor or MP. The Designated Person may engage with the complainant and the council in trying resolving the complaint or referring the matter to the Housing Ombudsman after it has been considered at all stages of the council’s complaints procedures. The Housing Ombudsman has the right to insist on a cooling off period of 8 weeks after the final stage response before accepting the complaint, unless the tenant has already referred the matter to a Designated Person.
The contact details of the Ombudsman’s service are sent out with all final stage response letters.
Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman PO Box 4771 Coventry CV4 0EH Tel: 0300 061 0614 Website at: www.lgo.org.uk
Housing Ombudsman Service (for council tenants with a tenancy/housing specific complaint) Exchange Tower Harbour Exchange Square London, E14 9GE Telephone: 0300 111 3000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website at: www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk
You may be required to wait until 8 weeks have elapsed from the date of the final response letter