Ombudsman issues new guidance for combined authorities

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has issued new guidance to help combined authorities deal with the complaints they receive.

The LGO believes each combined authority has the opportunity to create an integrated complaints system that is better for the public, better for local accountability and better value for money.

These new authorities will be responsible for services devolved from central government, and will have to establish new ways of working – and that will include new ways of dealing effectively with complaints. All services need to remain accountable to the people that use them. This means councils and combined authorities need to make sure service users have a clear route to redress when something has gone wrong.

The guidance includes recommendations on how to create a simple, integrated complaints system which is fair and encourages organisational improvements, based on LGO’s 40 plus years experience of dealing with unresolved local authority complaints.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman said:

“People should have a seamless route for redress, and we want the new authorities to foster a ‘no wrong door’ attitude to complaints, where everyone is able to deal with a complaint regardless of whether or not that complaint was about their specific area or organisation within the combined authority.

“It is also imperative that the learning from complaints is shared throughout the new authority and used to improve future service provision.”

The LGO has invited comments from combined authorities and other stakeholders and will be keeping the guidance under review as the new authorities come into effect.

Article date: 13 December 2016