Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

A service for everyone
Annual Report 2010-2011
Six year wait


Ending a six year wait for compensation

Mr N was severely injured during a robbery over ten years ago. He lost his sight, suffered brain damage and needed major surgery to his face. Following the attack, his solicitors applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for compensation.

A year after the robbery, the Authority obtained evidence that strongly suggested Mr N would never be able to work again.

Yet five years later, when they made their final award, they decided Mr N would not need care in the future and that he would be able to return to work. When Mr N’s solicitors appealed, it took three years for the Authority to revise their decision and award him £500,000.

Mr N’s brother complained about the delay and the Authority offered £6,000 compensation. When they declined a request to increase the amount, Mr N’s brother complained to us.

Our investigation found that Mr N’s award payment was delayed by at least six years.

The Authority failed to treat Mr N with respect and dignity; causing distress, frustration and inconvenience to him and his family. The years of delay had also deprived him and his partner of the chance to improve their living conditions, which were unsuitable for his needs.

In line with our recommendations, the Authority’s Chief Executive apologised for their mistakes and the impact on Mr N and his family. The Authority paid him £80,000, which included compensation for their poor complaint handling.