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Our legal framework

The Local Government Act 1974 established the then Local Government Ombudsman for England and for Wales. Wales is now covered by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

The Act defines our main statutory functions:

  • to investigate complaints against councils and some other authorities
  • to investigate complaints about adult social care providers from people who arrange or fund their own adult social care
  • to provide advice and guidance on good administrative practice

The main activity under Part III of the 1974 Act is the investigation of complaints, which it states is limited to complaints from members of the public alleging they have suffered injustice as a result of maladministration and/or service failure.

Our jurisdiction under Part III covers all local authorities (excluding town and parish councils); police and crime bodies; school admission appeal panels and a range of other bodies providing local services.

Under Part IIIA we investigate complaints from people who allege they have suffered injustice as a result of action by adult social care providers. We changed our name to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in 2017 to reflect the full scope of our jurisdiction.

The Regulatory Reform (Collaboration etc between Ombudsmen) Order 2007 amended the 1974 Act and clarified the powers of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, to work together. If a complaint covers both our jurisdictions - typically social care and health issues - we can carry out joint investigations with a single point of contact.

The link in ‘related content’ will take you to a version of the Local Government Act 1974 as it is held on This version has changes to the Act which have not yet been added – more information can be found in the pink box at the top of the webpage.

The Commission is required to review the operation of its legislation every three years:

 Triennial Review 2018