Number of complaints raised with the ombudsman

Monitoring

The number of complaints escalated to the Local Government Ombudsman

In the event a customer is unhappy with the decision of the Council with their complaint they may escalate the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. The number of complaints lodged with the ombudsman has remained at similar levels over the past 4 years.

The following table shows the breakdown of complaints received by the ombudsman by service area

  Adult Social Care Benefits and Tax Corporate and Other Services Education and Children's Services Environmental Services, Public Protection and Regulation Highways and Transport Housing Planning and Development Other
2014/15 14 7 10 18 0 6 9 3 22
2015/16 22 7 4 8 8 4 3 26 1
2016/17 13 7 7 9 6 7 5 36 0
2017/18 21 2 2 19 11 3 1 24 1

 The LGO emphasises that the number of cases received doesn’t simply depend on the number of problems people have with local services. There are lots of other factors to consider:

An organisation that serves a large population is likely to see more complaints. This could also influence the kind of complaints that are made to the LGO. For example, a community that includes a high proportion of older people may raise more complaints about adult social care services.

Local conditions. Sometimes, one-off events can generate multiple complaints about the same organisation. For example, the LGO might receive several complaints from people who oppose a council’s decision to grant planning permission for a large housing development.

Not everyone who receives a poor service goes on to raise a complaint and some people are less likely to complain than others. So a fall in the number of received complaints may reflect lower expectations rather than an improvement in services.

A high number of received complaints might reflect an organisation that is good at letting people know they can ask the LGO for an independent investigation (Shropshire Council places a strong emphasis on LGO signposting, in line with good practice guidance).