Review highlights 'widening cracks' in council complaints systems

By Laura Sharman | 28 July 2021

The local government ombudsman has warned about the erosion to the way complaints are being handled by councils.

An annual review of complaints by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman highlighted the 'widening cracks' in council complaints systems.

In 2020-21, the ombudsman upheld 67% of investigations, a greater proportion that ever before.

As a result, it made more than 3,000 recommendations to put things right for individuals and 1,488 recommendations for councils to improve their services for others.

Ombudsman Michael King said: 'While the way local authorities dealt with the pressures of COVID-19 is still being played out in our casework, early indications suggest it is only widening the cracks that were already there and has deepened our concerns about the status of complaints services within councils.

'These concerns are not new and cannot be wholly attributed to the trials of the pandemic.

'I am concerned about the general erosion to the visibility, capacity and status of complaint functions within councils.'

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