Government commitment to modernising governance of LGO is “long overdue but welcomed”

Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), Dr Jane Martin, has today welcomed the publication of an independent review into the governance of the LGO.

The review by Robert Gordon CB, former Director General of the Scottish Government, considered that the Commission for Local Administration in England, effectively the Board of the LGO, should be strengthened by the addition of non-executive members. It also recommended that the current approach of appointing two or more Ombudsmen should be changed so that in the future there should be one Local Government Ombudsman.

The Government has announced that it supports these recommendations and will seek a suitable opportunity to make the necessary legislative amendments. Responding to the Review and the Government’s response Dr Martin stated:

“The legislation that created the accountability structures of the LGO is now nearly forty years old and no longer reflects the principles and practice of modern, effective governance. We have sought changes to these arrangements for some time so I am pleased that the Government have supported Robert Gordon’s sound recommendations.

Over the last 18 months we have implemented considerable organisational change to deliver a service that is lean, effective and provides value for money. I look forward to working with government and Parliament to deliver the long overdue changes to provide appropriate governance for a modern ombudsman service.”

The Review also concluded that, in the medium term, consideration should be given to the creation of a single ombudsman for all public services in England. Commenting on that recommendation Dr Martin said:

“I have called for a single Public Services Ombudsman for England in our evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee’s inquiry into complaints about public services. I believe that this would provide the public with a more accessible route to redress when they are let down by public services and would ensure greater local accountability of those services. I am pleased that today’s Review supports that view.”

Article date: 29 November 2013