Southwark LBC (97/A/2811)
In 1994 'Mr and Mrs Yorkshire' (not their real names) sought to sell the leasehold of a flat. The council was freeholder of the house which was divided into two flats, the other being let by the council. A prospective purchaser withdrew an offer following a survey. So, in November 1994 the Yorkshires asked the council for any information it had about structural problems. In the meantime they took the flat off the market. The council had commissioned structural surveys of the house which had been carried out in July and August 1994 and which recommended works which had been completed before the Yorkshires made their enquiry. The council did not provide information about the survey or the works until November 1995. The property was then put back on the market and sold in a reasonably short time. The ombudsman finds that the council's delay was maladministration and that this caused the Yorkshires injustice. The council has already paid compensation of£400 to the Yorkshires. The ombudsman recommends that the council pays them a further£1,600 comprising a proportion of their costs and losses and recognition of the time and trouble to which they were put.
St Nicholas RC Primary School, Sutton Coldfield (98/C/1498, 98/C/1591 & 98/C1593) Education admissions
Three sets of parents complained about the conduct of appeals against the governors' decisions not to admit their children to the school. The ombudsman found maladministration. Full information was not available to the complainants, the governors' case for denying parental preference was not presented fully, and the records did not allow the ombudsman fully to understand what consideration the committee had given. Possibly some members of the committee misunderstood the basis for testing the governors' case, and a crucial decision on the effect of any extra admissions was taken at too early a stage. However, the ombudsman found that, in the context of these complaints, maladministration did not lead to any injustice and so no remedy is called for.