A 63-year-old the Daily Mail brands as “Britain’s Most Prolific Complainer” has finally been banned from contacting his local council, but only after he sent them 10,000 complaints over a missed bin collection in 1988. Steve Bradbury was unhappy with the £250 compensation he was offered at the time and has been complaining ever since.
Unbelievably his local authority, Kirklees in Yorkshire, continued to reply to him despite the ever increasing cost to the taxpayer. They estimate it cost £11,000 a year to deal with Mr Bradbury, but they have only just begun refusing to deal with him.
He currently has 50 outstanding complaints and had begun calling the council every single day to either follow up existing complaints or add new ones. All of them relate to the incident of the bin collection failure in 1988 or the councils subsequent response to it.
The retired engineer said of his three decade long campaign: “Every time I have dealings with the council, things go dramatically wrong. So I escalate it up the ladder and I’ve found that the further up you go the worse it gets.
“They’re just so incompetent that they answer one [complaint] and create half a dozen more.”
Since the feud began Mr Bradbury believes he has been the victim of a vendetta, and as such he straps a camera to his chest every time he visits the council.
Jane Brady of Kirklees customer services told Channel 4: “During one month we recorded the time we spent dealing with him and we reckon it would have cost us £11,000 a year. That’s ten times [a household’s] council tax bill.”
Councils are not obliged to answer complaints that drag on for long periods of time, however many do to avoid complaints against them to the local government ombudsman. However, these long running chains of complaints can end up costing tens of thousands of pounds with no realistic prospect of them every being resolved.
They are often keen to keep them in house to avoid officers actions being investigated by the regulator.