Laura Sharman 02 August 2017

Councils urged to scrutinise data on complaints

The number of complaints about councils that have been investigated and upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has increased this year, new figures have revealed.

The LGO said it received more than 16,500 complaints and enquiries about councils in 2016-17, with education and children’s services being the main cause for concern.

The ombudsman said it upheld 54% of complaints that it investigated in detail over the year, up from 51% in the year before. It upheld the most complaints in London (60%) while the lowest was the East Midlands at 44%.

The figures show that the ombudsman was most likely to find fault in adult social care cases (64% upheld), and least likely to find fault in complaints about planning and development (35% upheld).

Local government and social care Ombudsman, Michael King, said: ‘The best councils use our data to scrutinise the services they provide. I urge all councils to do that to make their services better in future.

‘I want to encourage an open and mature attitude to complaints - one where they are valued within organisations as "free feedback" and learning opportunities. Indeed, how an organisation deals with complaints says a lot about its culture.’

The ombudsman added that a high number of complaints does not necessarily mean a council is performing poorly as it can indicate a authority welcomes feedback.

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