Watchdog will not investigate Wigan woman's claim that she was assaulted by a council worker
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A watchdog will not investigate a woman’s complaint that she was assaulted by a council worker after declaring it does not have any powers to take action.
The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) was contacted by a resident who felt that Wigan Council had not properly investigated her complaint that her neighbour, who was employed by the council, assaulted her and threatened her son.
The complainant wanted the ombudsman to investigate the member of staff’s employment history and implement “a fair outcome”.
But the investigating officer said they would not be able to probe the complaint because the LGO “cannot achieve the outcome” that the lady had hoped for, adding that allegations of assault were a matter for the police to handle.
The complainant, referred to in the report as Ms B, explained to the LGO that the assault and threatening behaviour occurred in August 2019.
The perpetrator (Mr Y), who is a neighbour, is employed by the council.
Ms B complained to the council about Mr Y’s behaviour and expected it to take disciplinary action that would result in his dismissal.
The ombudsman’s report said: “The council has told Ms B it has carried out an investigation but cannot reveal the details or outcome of the investigation.
“The council also told Ms B that Mr Y’s behaviour did not relate to his employment with the council.
“While Ms B is dissatisfied with the council’s handling of the matter and that her neighbour has not been dismissed, the ombudsman will not investigate this complaint.”
It went on: “The ombudsman has no power to take or recommend disciplinary action against individual members of council staff.
“We could not investigate Mr Y’s personnel record or how the council has conducted its disciplinary investigation. While Ms B believes an investigation should only have had the outcome of dismissing Mr Y, the ombudsman could not achieve any more for Ms B.
“The allegations of assault and threatening behaviour are criminal matters and I note Ms B has reported the incidents to the police. It is for the police and Crown Prosecution Service to decide if any charges should be brought against Mr Y.
“Ms B says the council has now stopped responding to her enquiries about this matter.
“The council has provided a final response to Ms B’s complaint and said it considers the matter closed. The ombudsman is therefore unlikely to find fault with the council for not continuing to correspond about the same matter.”
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