Ombudsman investigations putting things right for more people

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman made 730 recommendations to improve services for the wider public, almost a fifth more than the year before, it has announced in its Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18.

Where the Ombudsman upholds a complaint, it can recommend councils and care providers make changes to avoid the problems highlighted in a case affecting further people.

The 730 recommendations to improve services in 2017-18 were an increase from 621 made in the previous year. Overall, the Ombudsman made 3,949 recommendations last year, which includes actions to put things right for the individuals that complained. Service improvement recommendations often include reviewing policies and practices, and training staff.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, said:

“Our recommendations for service improvement are helping local authorities unlock the power of our investigations, to improve the lives of many people who haven’t directly complained to us.

“I welcome where councils and care providers have worked constructively with us to remedy injustices and take on board the learning from our cases.

“Last year we put considerable effort into changing our processes to give more sophisticated information about the impact of our recommendations. In future, I hope this will help councils increasingly to capitalise on the added value complaints can bring.”

In 2017-18, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman dealt with a total of 31,664 complaints and enquiries from the public. Of the 18,882 cases it decided, 5,031 were dealt with at the assessment stage, and 4,331 through a detailed investigation. The Ombudsman upheld 57% of detailed investigations, which is up from 53% the previous year.

The Ombudsman met all of its time targets for completing investigations. It completed 79% of investigations within 13 weeks; 91% of investigations within 26 weeks; and 99% of investigations within 52 weeks.

In the year the Ombudsman also produced a new three-year corporate strategy, setting out how it will continue to develop as an innovative ombudsman scheme. The report was laid in Parliament on 11 July 2018.

Article date: 12 July 2018