London Borough of Camden failed to carry out a recommendation to apologise to a man for its poor handling of a complaint, until the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman chased it for a response.
Following an earlier complaint to the Ombudsman in 2019, the council had agreed to apologise to the man and ensure staff would properly address and respond to complaints in future.
The council should have apologised to the man by November 2019. However, it was a year later when the apology was finally issued, and it did not acknowledge the council’s failure to properly respond to the original complaint.
The council has still not provided the Ombudsman with details of how it will ensure its staff deal with complaints properly in future.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:
“This case is an example of how we are thoroughly checking councils’ compliance with the actions they have agreed to take.
“How a council reflects on and learns from complaints is a measure of the maturity of its corporate culture. It is disappointing therefore that I have had to chase Camden council for the simplest of apologies – and even when this was provided, it did not acknowledge the previous problems I had found.
“It has also failed to provide me with assurance it will deal with complaints properly in future, so I look forward to receiving this confirmation in due course.”
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case the council has agreed to apologise to the man and pay him £250 to recognise the further injustice he was caused as a result of the delay.
The Ombudsman has the power to make recommendations to improve processes for the wider public. In this case the council has agreed to explain the steps it will take to ensure staff are clear about how to properly address and respond to complaints in future. It will also explain how it monitors and implements Ombudsman recommendations to prevent similar mistakes happening again.
Article date: 01 July 2021