The Local Government Ombudsman processes personal information to enable us to carry out our statutory duties which may include the consideration and investigation of complaints, providing advice and information, supporting and managing our employees, undertaking research, corporate administration and all activities we are required to carry out as a data controller and a public authority.

Any personal data collected through this website will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

We also record telephone calls made to our 0300 061 0614 advice line number for training and quality purposes.

Complaints data

If you make a complaint about a body we can investigate, we will hold the information securely and use it to help us to process your complaint. We may also need to show some of it to other people, such as the body concerned and perhaps legal or other expert advisers, so they can respond to our enquiries.

We may also obtain information about you and your complaint from other sources, such as the body complained about, in order to process your complaint. Some of this information may be sensitive personal data, such as health or care records where these are relevant. Where you have complained about a specific employee of the body concerned, information about your complaint may be shared with that employee.

We scan all documents when we receive them and will generally destroy the paper copies, unless you tell us that you want your documents returned. We normally destroy case file material that we have retained electronically 12 months after the case is closed. (We may not retain all the material you have shown us after the case is closed, but we will retain anything we rely on to make our decision on the complaint.) In exceptional circumstances we may need to keep case file material longer, for example, if there is a court case pending; we will generally notify you if so. We keep a record of the complaint and details of our decision for five years as this helps if you complain to us again. In cases where we publish a report, we keep a copy of the report for 15 years and most reports are published on our website. Decision statements are also usually published on our website. Neither reports nor statements will contain your name or any other information that would identify you.

In most cases, people who complain to us are reasonable and allow us time to do our job. However some people behave in a way which affects our ability to deal with their or other people’s complaints. If this happens, we may need to manage the way that person can contact us.

In extreme cases, we keep details of people who we consider to present a possible threat to the safety or wellbeing of our staff. We will normally tell the person when their details are recorded in this way, unless there are reasons for believing this may provoke unacceptable behaviour towards our staff. We regularly review information recorded in this way and delete it when it is no longer relevant.

The person who is ultimately responsible for the control of your data in our files is Karen Sykes, the  Director of Investigation.

Joint investigations

We carry out some joint investigations with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) where a complaint covers both health services and social care services. Where we consider that a joint investigation may be appropriate, we will share your information with PHSO for the purposes of carrying out an initial assessment. Where we and PHSO assess your complaint as being one which could be best dealt with jointly, we will ask for your consent before we start a joint investigation on your complaint. By providing your consent to a complaint being dealt with jointly by both organisations you are also providing your consent to us sharing the information required to do so. For specific details on how a joint investigation will be carried out please see the agreement between PHSO and LGO for joint working.

To find out more information about how PHSO will process your information within their published privacy policy at:

Access to information

You are entitled to see a copy of the personal data we hold on you. For further information see: Access to information.

Site usage information

Cookies - see the separate page on our Cookies policy

Log files
Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. We put together the information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information.

If you provide feedback on our website (option available at the bottom of each page) we will only use it to develop and improve the site.

Other websites
This privacy statement covers this website. It does not cover links within this site to other websites.

Changes to this privacy statement
If this privacy statement changes in any way, we will place an updated version on this page. Regularly reviewing this page ensures you are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it and under what circumstances, if any, we will share it with other parties.

August 2017