Ombudsman criticises councils for how they chased historic business rate debts


Two London councils have been criticised by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for the way they tried to recover historic business rate debts.

Call for dedicated social care appeals


Fewer than one in five councils have a dedicated appeals process for social care, according to new research.

Nine in 10 complaints about SEND provision upheld by Ombudsman


The Ombudsman is receiving more complaints about education, health and care plans (EHCP) than ever before – and the vast majority are being upheld.

Council apologises after motorist denied right to challenge parking ticket


Cherwell DC has apologised ‘unreservedly’ after an investigation revealed that motorists were being denied the right to challenge parking tickets.

Ombudsman upholds two thirds of care complaints


But despite this complaints about care have fallen and in the vast majority of cases his recommendations are carried out, council leaders say.

Council criticised after SEN child left without education for over a year


Worcestershire CC complaints policy has been criticised after a boy with special educational needs was left without appropriate education for 14 months.

Ombudsman criticises county for failing to complete agreed remedy


Staffordshire County Council has come under fire from the local government ombudsman for failing to carry out remedies agreed following an investigation.

Council apologises for leaving family in ‘overcrowded conditions’ for 10 years


Lancashire CC has apologised after a woman and her family were left living in what the LGO described as ‘significantly overcrowded conditions’ for 10 years.

Council apologises after anxious girl misses months of school


Leeds City Council left a young girl without proper education for nine months after she started refusing to go to her primary school because of anxiety, the ombudsman has found.

Children’s services top list of complaints against councils


Official complaints about children’s services and adult social care have topped an annual review of local government complaints for 2018-19.

Ombudsman reveals ‘gaps’ in the SEN redress system


An investigation has revealed gaps in the Special Educational Needs redress system which prevent it from being transparent and accountable to parents.

Ombudsman tells councils to ‘be clear’ about home-schooling visits


Councils must be clear with parents of home-schooled children whether home visits are routine or triggered by specific concerns, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has said.

Council criticised for handling of disabled woman’s case


Somerset County Council has been told to complete its assessment of a disabled woman’s needs after failing to comply with an earlier ruling by the LGO.

Ombudsman reprimands council over support for vulnerable people


Councils have been reminded of their obligations to supporting vulnerable people by the Ombudsman after Suffolk CC halted assessments for a deafblind couple’s care plans because of a dispute.

Ombudsman welcomes move to streamline complaints


The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has welcomed a decision by the trade body representing bailiffs to give up dealing with complaints from members of the public.

Council refuses to accept ruling over treatment of homeless family


Oadby and Wigston Borough Council has refused to accept an official ruling over its treatment of a homeless family facing domestic violence, according to LGO.

Council criticised for ‘serious delays’ in completing SEND plans


Hackney Council has been criticised by the ombudsman over serious delays when completing plans for children with Special Educational Needs.

Council pays out over £40,000 for ‘mistakes’ in respite centre closure


Southampton City Council has paid thousands of pounds in compensation after an Ombudsman ruled that the authority had caused ‘avoidable distress’ when it closed a respite centre.

Ombudsman publishes guide for handling social care complaints


Directors of adult social services have welcomed the publication of a good practice guide for helping adult social care providers improve complaints handling.

Councils must ensure parking fines are issued correctly, Ombudsman says


The local government Ombudsman has urged councils to ensure they are using the correct legislation to issue parking fines at country parks.

Brokenshire announces ‘overhaul’ of housing complaints system


Communities secretary James Brokenshire today announced an overhaul of what he describes as a ‘broken’ housing complaints system.

Carers leave vulnerable woman ‘screaming in pain'


A vulnerable woman in Blackpool was left with serious burns on her leg after carers left her too close to a hot radiator, the local government Ombudsman has found.

Councils must act on care service complaints, ombudsman says


Councils facing a rising tide of complaints from the public about care services must listen to them and take action, the government regulator has warned.

Social work failings stopped parents visiting dying baby


A council has apologised for the ‘distress’ of a family who were unable to spend time with their dying baby due to social work failings.

A sign of cutting corners?


With figures revealing the number of complaints about local councils are on the rise, what does this say about the performance of the sector? Neil Merrick investigates.

Partial ban on flammable cladding ‘does not go far enough’, firefighters warn


The Government has announced new measures to support homebuyers, get more homes built, improve building safety and create a 'Commonwealth Games legacy.'

Councils often fail to explain planning decisions, LGO says


Local authorities frequently fail to explain the reasons behind planning decisions, Ombudsman says as he publishes guidance for planners.

Council apologises for ‘failing’ disabled boy’s family


Doncaster council has admitted to ‘failing’ the family of a disabled boy after they waited three years for the special adaptations their home required.

Council fined for ‘unfairly’ changing school admission arrangements


Nottinghamshire County Council has been criticised for ‘unfairly’ changing its school admission arrangements and forcing parents to send siblings to separate schools.

Councils urged to provide free education transport for young people with disabilities


Councils across England should ensure their education transport policies properly support young adults with disabilities, ombudsman warns.

Nearly 60% of investigations against councils upheld by Ombudsman


Over half of the investigations into complaints against local authorities were upheld in 2017-18, according to new figures.

Ombudsman upholds 70% of complaints about Special Guardianship Orders


The local government ombudsman has revealed it has upheld 70% of complaints made about the way councils support special guardians.

Councils warned not to cap personal care budgets


Councils have been told they are not allowed to set maximum budget levels when calculating the cost of people’s care by the sector’s ombudsman.

Councils cannot charge for first weeks of intermediate care, Ombudsman says


Local authorities cannot charge people for the first six weeks of intermediate care, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has warned.

Council criticised after homeless family spends three years in hotel room


Bristol City Council have been criticised after a family, including children with disabilities, was forced to share a hotel room for more than three years.

Ombudsman warns councils not to outsource responsibility


Councils have been urged by the local government ombudsman to keep a ‘robust oversight’ of external contractors to ensure accountability is not lost.

Ombudsman upholds 80% of complaints about special educational needs support


The Ombudsman responsible for investigating concerns over local government services has revealed his office has upheld eight out of 10 complaints about Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs).

Council ordered to apologise after child hospitalised with sunburn


A Scottish council has been ordered to apologise after a child on a school trip abroad was ‘badly sunburned’ and hospitalised.

Ombudsman issues ‘rare’ second report criticising council


A council has received a second warning after failing to comply with recommendations made by the local government Ombudsman.

Councils urged to be clear on care home costs


Councils have been reminded to give families accurate information about care home fees by the ombudsman, following a complaint against Lincolnshire County Council.

Councils acting 'positively' on social care complaints


Councils and care providers implemented more than 1,300 recommendations to put things right for people who complained to the local government ombudsman last year.

Councils warned not to delay with providing SEN support


A Sheffield schoolboy had to limit the number of GCSEs he could take because was left without the right Special Educational Needs support for 18 months, according to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Council charges foster family for free school transport


Councils are putting foster children at a disadvantage compared to their peers when it comes to school transport, ombudsman says.

Council reviews over 500 benefit applications after ‘unacceptable’ delays


Bradford council has agreed to review more than 500 benefit applications after the local government Ombudsman found delays in the authority’s appeals process.

Council criticised after reducing care for autistic brothers without consulting mother


A London council has been criticised for reducing the care and support packages of two autistic brothers without involving their mother in the decision.

Council fined after separating husband and wife for 10 months


A council has been ordered to pay out hundreds of pounds in compensation after separating a married couple for 10 months due to a lack of homecare availability.

Council rapped for banning man from visiting relative in care home


Nottinghamshire County Council failed to go through the correct procedures when it banned a man from visiting his partner’s mother in her care home, the local government ombudsman has ruled.

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.

Vulnerable adults let down by ‘poor’ social work, ombudsman says


Vulnerable adults are being let down by ‘poor’ social work practice, Ombudsman reports.

Ombudsman warns councils to offer affordable care options


The local government ombudsman has reminded councils they must offer affordable placements to families when arranging care for their relatives.

Barnet’s homelessness services suffering ‘systemic problems’, ombudsman finds


London council apologises after ombudsman finds ‘systemic’ problems with their homelessness services.

School transport policy changes causing ‘upheaval’ for children, ombudsman reports


Changes to councils’ school transport policies are causing ‘upheaval’ for an increasing number of pupils, Ombudsman warns.

Social workers removed vulnerable teen from family ‘without warning’


Social workers in Essex removed a vulnerable teen from the care of her family ‘without any warning’, ombudsman finds.

Councils warned to ensure no gaps in care occur


Parents of a disabled teenager were left with no support because a London council failed to put plans in place for when he turned 18, the Local Government Ombudsman has ruled.

New omdudsman chief executive officer announced


Nigel Ellis has been announced as the new chief executive officer for the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

New ombudsman pledges to help councils repeating same mistakes


Michael King has been appointed as the new Local Government Ombudsman, pledging to help councils learn from complaints about services.

Council criticised after woman in care home left ‘malnourished’


Wokingham council has been told to pay out thousands in compensation after a woman was left ‘severely malnourished’ and bored during a stay in a care home.

New approach to investigating health and social care complaints a ‘success’


A joined-up approach to investigating complaints about health and social care a success, according to officials charged with overseeing the two sectors.

Council urged to accept Ombudsman's decision on care contribution


The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has urged a council to reconsider its refusal to fund a disabled man’s care.

Information-sharing agreement to improve children’s services


A new information-sharing agreement looks set to improve children’s care services across England.

Ombudsman reports ‘dramatic’ increase in home care complaints


There has been a 25% rise in complaints about the home care received by some of the most vulnerable people in England over the past year, Ombudsman reports.

Councils urged to strengthen partnerships to protect victims of domestic violence


Two west London authorities failed to work together effectively to support a woman at risk of domestic violence, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has found.

LGO investigated over 11,000 complaints in a year


The LGO has investigated more than 11,000 complaints over the past year, annual report says.

Personal injury claim should not affect care assessments warns ombudsman


Personal injury settlements should not be taking into account by councils when assessing someone’s care contribution, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has warned.

Ombudsman issues first joint investigation report


The Local Government Ombudsman has ruled Oxfordshire County Council failed to properly follow up a complaint about the neglect in its first joint investigation of a care home and a local authority.

Councils warned to keep track of enforcement action


An investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has uncovered a backlog of 1,500 open enforcement cases at a London borough.

Solihull Council to refund historic care payments


Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council may have to refund more than 60 older people after it incorrectly charged them for care.

Councils must be transparent says ombudsman


A watchdog has warned local authorities must act in a transparent way when managing the finances of vulnerable people.

Taking a more balanced approach


Paul Smith and Julia Skelton voice concerns that the recent report on the disabled facilities grant (DFG) programme is 'simplistic and overly negative'.

Report highlights problems with Disabled Facilities Grants process


Councils have been urged to improve the way they process Disabled Facilities Grants, with a new report saying delays are leaving disabled people in unsuitable homes for too long.

Review of school places ordered after council alters admissions process


Bolton Council is to check whether any children missed out on their preferred school after an investigation found the authority had changed admissions criteria without informing parents.

Council policy changes must be communicated clearly, ombudsman urges


Information about a council’s new transport policy ‘could have been clearer’, according to the local government ombudsman (LGO).

Ombudsman highlights need for transparent planning decisions


Councils have been reminded to ensure planning decisions are made in a transparent way as possible, especially when members decide against planning officers' recommendations.

Councils urged to reconsider changes to housing allocation schemes


Changes to the way councils allocate social housing have led to an increase in the number of complaints made to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

Ombudsman calls for clearer advice on disability payments


Adult social care teams have been urged to ensure they provide clear advice on disability payments following the case of a woman who was left without proper care and support.

Councils must offer affordable care options, warns ombudsman


Councils have been warned that they must offer affordable options when arranging care homes following the case of a family that was wrongly left to pay top-up fees for three years.

Report warns older people too scared to complain about care


Older people are often too afraid to complain about the level of care they receive, worrying a complaint will make the situation worse, a new report has warned.

Doncaster Council warned for failing to support homeless young people


Doncaster Council has been criticised for the second time in two years for failing to provide adequate support to homeless young people.

Welsh council dubbed ‘intransigent’ by ombudsman


An ombudsman has characterised a Welsh community council as ‘intransigent’ for refusing to cooperate with his investigation into language provision.

Report shows increase in adult social care complaints


The number of complaints about adult social care has risen by 18% in the past year, according to new figures published today.

Councils reminded to make transition plans for pupils with SEN


Councils have been urged to plan for the further education of all pupils with special educational needs (SEN) by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

Councils told to 'weigh up all options' when safeguarding children


Councils have been reminded to consider all the options available when safeguarding vulnerable children to avoid making ‘knee-jerk reactions’.

Councils reminded they cannot contract out accountability


The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has reminded councils that they are responsible for the quality of services provided by outside contractors.

Councils warned to promptly deal with homelessness applications


The London Borough of Hounslow has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) after it took more than a year to determine someone homeless status.

Ombudsman warns families are being overcharged for care


Confusing or incorrect information from councils is leading to families being overcharged for care, the Local Government Ombudsman has claimed.

Ombudsman warns Lambeth over nine-year flat sale saga


Lambeth Council has been criticised for repeatedly ignoring the advice of the Local Government Ombudsman over the treatment of a woman who was trying to buy her local authority flat.

Councils warned to be upfront about Right to Buy restrictions


A council has come under fire after it failed to inform two homeowners about restrictions affecting their ex-council properties.

Councils urged to reassess assets of care home residents


The case of an elderly woman whose estate was depleted by care costs despite her qualifying for financial support underlines to need for councils to make regular reassessments, a watchdog has warned.

Councils told ‘never’ use B&Bs to house vulnerable young people


Bed and breakfast hotels are never suitable for housing vulnerable or homeless young people, councils have been warned.

Council fined for wrongly denying pay to carer mother


Councils have been urged to properly consider care circumstances in funding decisions after an authority mistakenly withheld payments over working hours concerns.

Councils warned to be ‘rigorous’ in complaints about contractors


Councils have been reminded to ensure all complaints about contractors are carried out ‘properly’ following an investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

Ombudsman warns of accountability risk


The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has warned that greater co-operation between council and health bodies could create accountability risks in her annual report.

Council 'one-sided' in custody case, says ombudsman


A local authority has come under fire for 'one-sided actions' after it removed a baby from her mother's care.

Councils must heed Armed Forces Covenant, ombudsman warns


The local government ombudsman Dr Jane Martin has warned that local authorities which have signed the Armed Forces Covenant must make sure military personnel and their families are not disadvantaged.

Complaints system not ‘value for money’ warns watchdog


One in five people had problems when using public services last year, with many finding it difficult to make a complaint, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed.

Two thirds of people not complaining about unsatisfactory public service


Fears about unsatisfactory public services are going ‘unheard or unaddressed’ as research suggests two thirds of users don’t complain despite being unhappy.

Amputee forced to fund own care after council dispute


A vulnerable woman, denied the appropriate care after having both her legs amputated, has received more than £27,000 following an investigation by two ombudsmen services.

Councils warned to learn from complaints process


Councils have been urged to respond positively to complaints and reassure complainants it will not adversely affect the level of service they receive in the future, by the ombudsman.

Fall in complaints over families housed in B&Bs


Homelessness complaints made to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) fell by over a quarter last year, it was revealed today.

Fears raised over complaints in children’s social care


The complaints system for children’s social care is ‘creaking under the strain’, costing thousands of pounds while often failing to resolve issues – inspectors claim.

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

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