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Investigation Manual

1. Introduction:

This is internal guidance which we have published for transparency. It may have links or references to other internal guidance or policies which are not published.

Last updated: September 2021.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is part of a wider system of public law and administrative justice which protects fundamental freedoms and human rights. Our complaint handling should contribute to public confidence in that system. In doing so we must demonstrate our independence and ensure the seven Nolan principles of public life are at the heart of our work. 

The principles are:

  • Selflessness
  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Accountability
  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Leadership

We should be sympathetic to the problems faced by complainants, but our role is to consider complaints of fault causing personal injustice. We cannot seek to resolve complainants’ problems more generally and will need to draw boundaries around our investigations (see The Statement of Complaint and what is investigated).

The function of Investigation is to consider every case referred from Assessment in an objective and proportionate manner. We must make robust, timely decisions which we can publish, and identify learning from cases of value to the wider public. Our full mission statement, objectives and values are on the website

We provide a high degree of freedom for managers and staff. This guidance outlines investigative procedures which, if relevant, should be applied to all cases. It does not seek to say how we should investigate individual complaints or apply our jurisdiction to complaints. There is a separate Quality and Standards Manual which addresses expectations throughout our investigations, including the standards against which performance will be monitored, and how. The guidance should be considered in tandem. Other process guidance including the Manuals can be found on the intranet.