Complaints upheld by Ombudsman lowest among similar local authorities
Nottinghamshire County Council had the lowest number of complaints upheld by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) among similar local authorities last year.
The Ombudsman carried out full investigations into 29 complaints about the County Council for the year ending 31 March 2021.
Twenty-six were closed after initial enquiries were made of the County Council, nine cases were referred back to the authority as the complainants had either not complained previously or had not completed the process and two were found to be invalid complaints.
Fifty-four per cent of the 29 complaints investigated by the LGSCO were upheld, compared to an average of 71 per cent for similar local authorities, and the Ombudsman was satisfied that the County Council successfully implemented 100 per cent of the recommendations he made.
In total, the LGSCO received 65 complaints in relation to the County Council and made decisions on 66 cases.
However, the numbers were much lower than the previous 12 months – when 102 complaints were received and decisions made in 104 cases – due to a decision by the Ombudsman to temporarily suspend casework for three months in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The County Council’s performance was highlighted in the LGSCO Annual Review letter it received from Michael King, Chairman of the Commission for Local Administration in England.
One case upheld by the LGSCO came after a fault was found in relation to the failure to review the assessment and care provided to one service user.
The County Council issued an apology and financial compensation was offered to the service user and complainant, while the service will undergo a review of its processes and guidance to staff as well as additional Mental Capacity Act training.
Councillor Philip Owen, Chairman of the County Council’s Governance and Ethics Committee, said: “I am pleased that the number of upheld decisions from the Ombudsman is much lower than other local authorities and it is always encouraging to hear that the work and care provided by our staff remains at the highest level.
“This once again demonstrates that the processes we have in place are robust and ensure our services are being delivered as residents expect them to be.
“However, we will use the data to scrutinise the services we provide and are committed to reviewing and monitoring them to ensure the best outcomes for all concerned.
“As a local authority, we strive to make right any complaints made against us where fault is found and agree with the Ombudsman suitable remedies as needed.”