WARRINGTON Borough Council could be taken to court over a highways-related complaint after it was dismissed by an independent investigator.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman looks into complaints by the public about maladministration and service failure from councils, adult social care providers and some other organisations providing public services.

It must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint.

A complainant, named as Mrs X, claimed a missing reflector post on the public highway led to an accident causing damage to her car.

Mrs X wanted the council to pay for the damage and was also unhappy with how it dealt with her complaint.

In the decision notice, the Ombudsman said: “The role of the Ombudsman is to consider complaints about administrative fault.

“We cannot establish liability in complaints involving damage to property.

“Claims for damage to property are a matter for the council’s insurers and, ultimately, for the courts.

“Now the council has rejected Mrs X’s claim, it is open to her to make a claim in court.

“I consider it would be reasonable for her to do so. This is because only the court can decide if the council has been negligent.”

The Ombudsman decided not to investigate the complaint as it believes it is ‘reasonable for her to seek compensation through the courts’.

The council has issued a statement on the matter.

A spokesman said: “While we recognise Mrs X’s concerns, we follow robust procedures and carry out regular inspections to ensure road users are protected.

“If a claim was to proceed to court, it would not be possible to predict a particular outcome.

“However, where we would have a defence available to us, we would seek to rely on it.”