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Adult care complaints most likely to be upheld by Ombudsman

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman was most likely to find fault in adult social care cases, upholding complaints against councils in 64% of cases in 2016/17.

Publishing details of the complaints it had received about all local councils in England, the LGO said that, overall, it upheld complaints in 54% of cases.

The Ombudsman was least likely to find fault in complaints about planning and development (35% upheld).

The region with the highest proportion of complaints upheld was London (60%), and the lowest was the East Midlands (44%).

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During the year the LGO received more than 16,500 complaints and enquiries about councils.

The greatest proportion of complaints were about education and children’s services, followed by adult social care, and planning.

Other statistics include:

  • Yorkshire had the lowest percentage of children’s services complaints upheld, at 58%.
  • The West Midlands area had the highest uphold rate for adult care services at 73%, higher than the average of 64%.
  • The Southern region saw the lowest proportion of complaints about adult care services upheld, at 52%.
  • The London area saw a higher proportion of complaints about housing than any other area in the country - they made up 23% of the area’s total complaint numbers, compared with a national average of 12%. The Ombudsman upheld 61% of those housing complaints in the London area compared with a national average of 54%.
  • This year, the LGO made 3,562 recommendations.

The Ombudsman, Michael King, said: “Our annual data release is a great opportunity for the public, councillors and council officers to gauge how their local authority responds to, and learns from, the complaints we receive about them. 

“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 data we have issued, and wealth of information we publish on our website, are a valuable source of information about complaints handling and council performance. I would urge people to take a look to see how they can use it to improve or scrutinise their authority’s performance."

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