Michael King confirmed as new Local Government Ombudsman

Michael King’s appointment as the new Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has been confirmed by the communities and local government secretary, Sajid Javid.

King is replacing Dr Jane Martin, who plans to retire, as head of the body responsible for resolving complaints from the public about local councils and the services they run.

He has worked at the LGO since 2004, most recently as its chief executive and previously as deputy ombudsman.

King paid tribute to the work of the Ombudsman, saying: “Our independent investigations can expose serious failings and help to remedy significant injustice.”

A recent example of this came last week when the LGO imposed a £4,000 fine on Wokingham Borough Council after upholding a complaint that an elderly woman lost one-third of her body weight in a council-run care home.

However, King added that it was not enough to “simply fix individual problems one by one” and promised to use his time in office to help councils and care providers be more transparent about complaints so that others could avoid the same mistakes

King’s appointment comes at a time when the future of the LGO is uncertain. The government has introduced draft legislation to merge it with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), creating a single Public Service Ombudsman.

Dame Julie Mellor, the PHSO, said she was "delighted" at King's appointment and looked forward to "continuing to work closely" on the reforms.

In a pre-appointment hearing with the Communities and Local Government Committee, King supported the merger, saying it offered a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to make the complaints process simpler. The committee has since endorsed King’s appointment.

Javid said: “Michael King brings with him a wealth of experience to his new role as LGO. This will be invaluable in making sure councils and care providers are held to account.”

Dr Jane Martin, the outgoing Ombudsman, said: “I am delighted that Michael King has been appointed as my successor. He has the proven experience and abilities to lead; and the LGO has the right person at the helm to ensure it continues provide a high quality service, which can adapt to the changing needs of the public and the way local public services are delivered.”

Before joining the LGO, King worked for 15 years in consumer and public protection roles, including as the chief trading standards officer for Northumberland County Council.

He is an independent member of the British Hallmarking Council, and has served as a Citizen’s Advice Bureau trustee. His appointment means he will also automatically serve as chair of the Commission for Local Administration of England.

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MK007   13/01/2017 at 11:46

I hope Rotherham Council can be looked into as the Councillors " thrown out" as "not fit for purpose" have walked back into their positions with even more arrogance Not to mention some Parish council members who see themselves as " untouchables" Please keep my information private as I don't want any trouble...

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