Laura Sharman 26 June 2020

Ombudsman will re-open for complaints about councils from next week

Ombudsman will re-open for complaints about councils from next week image

The ombudsman that investigates problems with local authorities will resume accepting new complaints from next week.

The pandemic had forced the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to stop taking new complaints or investigating cases that required input from councils or care providers.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: 'When we paused our casework in March, it was always a temporary measure in response to a national crisis. We knew it came at a cost to people who rely on us to hold councils and care providers to account who have had their statutory right temporarily denied.

’The time is now right for our full service to resume – not because the pandemic is over, but because that initial ‘fire-fighting’ crisis has abated. With this in mind, we will be re-opening to new complaints from Monday 29th June, and restarting those complaints we have previously been unable to pursue.’

It has created a specialist unit to deal with coronavirus complaints but stressed it would try not to ‘attack local authorities for any shortcomings’ during the crisis.

Ombudsman Michael King told The MJ he had the power to expand individual investigations to look at broader thematic and systemic issues, including shortages in personal protective equipment and why hospital patients may have been moved to care homes without testing them for coronavirus first.

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