The latest annual complaints statistics from the Ombudsman once again shed light on the challenging realities faced by many individuals in crucial aspects of their lives, such as education for their children, care for elderly relatives, and the state of their homes.
This year marks the tenth edition of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s annual review, providing a unique perspective on the quality of local government services in England. By analysing escalated complaints, the report highlights recurring issues observed over the past year, with particular concern in areas like Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision for children and young people, Adult Care Services, and Housing.
In the Yorkshire and Humber area, which constitutes around 10% of England’s population, the Ombudsman received just 8% of the overall complaints and inquiries. However, within this region, there were distinctive patterns:
28% of the complaints and inquiries were related to Children and Education, exceeding the average for all regions (24%).
17% of the complaints and inquiries pertained to Adult Care Services, surpassing the average for all regions (13%).
Only 9% of the complaints and inquiries were about Housing, lower than the average for all regions (15%).
The overall uphold rate for the region stood at 74%, aligning with the average rate for all regions. The highest uphold rates were observed in Children and Education (83%) and Adult Care Services (78%).
Paul Najsarek, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said; “We all want decent education services for our children, quality care for our loved ones when they are in need, and the reassurance of a safety net if we fall on hard times but all too often the complaints we receive show this isn’t what people experience.
“We know councils face huge challenges, so it is more important than ever for them to focus on the getting the basics right in services for residents and handling complaints effectively. Although local authorities often get things right, we frequently find councils repeating the same mistakes, ploughing ahead and not taking a step back to see the bigger picture.
“Our latest statistics shed light on the harsh realities people across the country face in crucial aspects of their lives. Council leaders now need to focus on learning from common faults and injustices so they can make a significant difference to the people our local authorities serve.”
The Ombudsman plays a vital role in rectifying individual injustices and, through sharing the insights gleaned from its investigations, contributes to the improvement of local public services and adult social care.
In the latest review, published today, the Ombudsman recorded a significant increase in recommendations to enhance council services, reaching 2,412 out of the 15,488 complaints and inquiries received over the past year. These recommendations involve actions like staff training enhancements, policy and procedure revisions, and record reviews to identify others affected by similar issues.
Additionally, the Ombudsman made 4,907 recommendations to address personal injustices faced by individuals, encompassing apologies, fee reimbursements, and reassessments of services that should have been provided.
Encouragingly, local authorities have complied with and implemented the Ombudsman’s recommendations in 99.3% of cases over the past year.
For those interested, the complete review report is accessible on the Ombudsman’s website at www.lgo.org.uk/information-centre/reports/annual-review-reports, which also includes data sheets for comparing statistics across each local authority. Furthermore, a visual representation for each authority can be found on the Ombudsman’s Council performance map at www.lgo.org.uk/your-councils-performance.