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Children’s services complaints increase 13% to LGO in last year

The number of complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) have increased over the past year, with children’s services and adult social care being the areas that attracted the most complaints.

In its annual report, published today, the LGO said that it had received 19,702 complaints and enquiries in March 2015-16, an 8% increase from 18,211 in 2014-15.

The most common area for complaints was children’s services and education, which attracted 3,438 complaints, a 13% growth from last year.

These included 903 complaints about child protection and 654 complaints about school admissions.

Ofsted’s latest annual report revealed that 24% of local authority children’s services have been rated ‘inadequate’.

The second biggest area of complaints was adult social care, which attracted 2,584 complaints, a 4% increase on the previous year.

The LGO said that within the adult social care figures there has been a 29% increase in complaints about councils’ provision of home care, despite the fact that the number of people receiving home care funded by local authorities fell by 20% in 2009-15.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services recently warned that adult social care is facing a funding crisis in the coming year.

Children’s services and adult social care both had an above-average rate of complaints being upheld – 58% in social care and 53% in children’s services.

The ombudsman said: “This means that, as a proportion of all people receiving home care with local authority involvement, more are bringing a complaint to us.”

Common complaints included cancelled and short visits, inaccurate invoicing and recording of visits, poor communication between the commissioning council and the home care provider and not seeking timely medical assistance.

The percentage of complaints being upheld by the LGO had also increased, from 46% last year to 51%.

Dr Jane Martin, the Local Government Ombudsman, said that the increased number of complaints being upheld “may be a cause for concern if the trend continues”.

The LGO recently required Kent County Council to pay £1,000 in compensation for stopping payments to the mother of two disabled children.

An LGA spokesperson said that the growing financial pressures on councils could lead to an increase in complaints.

“Despite the best efforts of councils, there is a risk that complaints could become more frequent as the combined pressures of insufficient funding, growing demand and extra costs mean that councils will have less money for essential services,” they said.

The area with the highest number of complaints being upheld was benefits and tax (64%) and the area with the lowest number upheld was highways and transport (64%).

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Jack   30/07/2016 at 08:43

I am pretty sure the morons at the LGO would have either found in the Councils favour or refused to investigate. Will some politician please have the guts to disband the LGO, get rid of it's crooked staff and bring in a proper independent organisation which is not full of Ex-Council Staff and Cronies. The LGO are total disgrace and stain on this country.

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