Local Government Ombudsmen investigation reports issued since 23 April 1998 ...
Local Government Ombudsmen investigation reports issued since 23 April 1998
Findings of maladministration but no injustice
London Borough of Waltham Forest (97/A/0001)
A man who had lived permanently in this country since 1994 enrolled on an undergraduate law course. In May 1995, after he had been granted leave to remain indefinitely in the UK, he was refused a discretionary major award for the second year of his course on the grounds of failure to meet the residency requirement. He applied again for the third and final year of his course. The council again refused his application on residency grounds. The complainant's appeal was not allowed. The Ombudsman found that the council had issued statements of its policy which included significantly different versions of the residency requirement. This was maladministration, but it caused no injustice to the complainant as he did not meet the residency requirement in either version. The Ombudsman commented that, where a council has discretion, it should not exercise it so inflexibly that exceptions from approved policies could not be made. However, he accepted that the council had upheld appeals where other criteria had not been met, and therefore it could not be inferred that, in appropriate cases, an award would not be made where the residency requirement was not met. He therefore found the sub-committee's decision to refuse the appeal had been made without maladministration.