In her report issued today against Redcar and Cleveland BC, Ms Seex found that the council failed to recognise this and fettered its discretion to reduce an individual's liability by having a 'blanket policy' that it would never allow a reduction.
'In the course of my investigation of Mrs Weaver's complaint the council has maintained that it does not have to consider individual requests for reductions,' said Ms Seex. 'Given the case law and legal principles about the duty of public authorities not to fetter their exercise of discretion, I find the council's stance to be inexplicable and, clearly, maladministration.'
The ombudsman concluded that the council must consider and reach a decision on Mrs Weaver's request and must establish internal arrangements for how such requests will be considered and decided in the future. She added that the council was free to reach any decision that it considers fit on any request, provided that it reaches such a decision properly.
Copy of report on investigation 05/C/03367 attached.