The council’s own promised deadline of 5 May 2015 had now passed over a month ago, and still the council had not responded to a single call or email despite us chasing on a daily basis. You couldn’t make it up, as some like to say!
We considered the route of appealing to the Ombudsman but were concerned that would shift the focus elsewhere and start the clock ticking all over again. What if the council were just about to call us in the next day and instead, hours before they were about to finally respond, we had started the official appeal process (which would then stop the council process)? We were caught in the middle of a very uncomfortable position.
We decided to take action to try to progress the matter through independent help, but by looking locally rather than the national ombudsman. We emailed our local MP and set out the summary of the delay, highlighting that it was well beyond the statutory limits and that aside, we had not been contacted even once since the council had confirmed receipt and acceptance of our application almost three months ago.
Our MP has suggested that in the first instance we send the full details to our Councillor, in his capacity as the leader of our local authority. We set out the brief details of the issue, highlighting in particular the failure to meet the council’s own stated deadline and the further failure to comply with national guidelines and regulations to have contacted us to request an extension in missing that deadline. We also made clear our disappointment at the total lack of response from the council, having not returned even a single phone call or email for over three months. It was unbelievable.
We sent the email to the Councillor on 4 June 2015. No reply as yet, but it’s early days. Watch this space!