Compensation for not acting on nursery’s safeguarding as complaint stats are released

County Hall in Oxford
County Hall in Oxford

An ombudsman upheld nine complaints against the councils serving Banbury during the last year, according a new report.

The Local Government Ombudsman carries out a ‘fair and independent’ final review if residents are still unhappy with the outcome of an authority’s internal complaints process.

In a report released this week it said it received a total of 53 complaints against Oxfordshire County Council from April 2014 to March 2015, carrying out detailed investigations on 16 of these, and finding fault in nine.

One upheld case regarded the council ‘not acting upon safeguarding concerns raised about a private nursery’.

The couple were awarded £250 ‘in recognition of their distress’.

Other upheld complaints include apologies to a man about a flooded bridleway and to a mum after the council refused to help with her daughter’s school transport costs.

The ombudsman received 16 complaints about Cherwell District Council, looked in detail at three of them and upheld none of them.

Nationally, the ombudsman registered 18,211 complaints and enquiries about councils, and upheld 46% of all those complaints where a detailed investigation was carried out.

Local government ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin, said: “We hope that by sharing our data and knowledge from complaints, we can help promote local accountability for actions, thereby allowing better scrutiny of services.

“Our survey’s findings point to a local complaints system that is under real pressure. Complaint handling teams are having to do ‘more with less’ and the process is not as accessible and timely as it should be.

“More investment into complaints, both in terms of resources and developing an open culture, is a good value way of driving service improvement – and local government needs to challenge itself on this question.

“Complaints must be seen as a positive. They can provide an early warning system for issues and are an indicator of public sentiment.”