(AGENPARL) – mar 03 agosto 2021 Welcome to News from the Ombudsman, bringing you the latest information, news and views from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. 
News from the Ombudsman – Summer 2021
Welcome to the latest edition of News from the Ombudsman.
In this edition you can read about our annual review of complaints, how you can easily look at the complaints we’ve investigated about your local council and about how we’ve made our website more accessible for people with visual impairments. You can also read about how we’re using the learning from your complaints to inform government policy-making.
Annual review launched
Last week we launched our Annual Review of Local Government Complaints.
Now in its seventh year, our annual review details all the headline figures from the past year’s complaints.
The report shows in 2020-21 we upheld a greater proportion of our investigations (67%) than ever before. This continues an upward trend since we started publishing our uphold rate (it was only 46% in 2013-14).
Despite being closed to new complaints at the height of the first lockdown, and so registering fewer complaints than recent years, we still received 11,830 complaints and enquiries.
Those investigations have led to 3,104 recommendations to put things right for individuals.
More importantly, there were 1,488 recommendations for councils to improve their services for others – such as revising procedures and training staff.
Later in the year we’ll be publishing our annual review of adult social care complaints, which includes the complaints we investigate about independent care providers.
Mapping out where things have improved (or not!)
Did they embrace our investigations in the right way, by implementing each one of our recommendations? Did they agree to carry out many more service improvements – like reviewing policies and procedures or updating the information on their website? Were there any cases in which we credited the council for suggesting the right way to resolve the problem before it came to us?
You can find this out and more by looking for your council on our map. With three years of information now available you can start to build a picture of how things have gone over time, and how they stand against average rates for similar type councils.
For those interested in scrutinising the data, we would recommend looking particularly at the uphold rate (the proportion of complaints where we found something went wrong); the compliance rate (non-compliance is rare and we would look closely at any council with less than 100%); and our annual review letters to councils to see if we welcomed any positive actions or highlighted areas to improve.
Remember that complaints information should form part of a picture, balanced with other external factors, but can be an insight into the corporate culture of an organisation. Bear in mind the impact of the pandemic last year meant we generally received and decided fewer complaints across the board – so take this into account when comparing last year’s information with previous years.
Step into our new look website
You might have recently noticed a change to the look of our website. We made some changes to improve the experience for people wanting to make a complaint to us, and for those with disabilities who access websites differently to others.
We have also made some general improvements to ensure our website works as well as possible for people who use websites in a different way to most. This includes those who need assistive technologies, like screen readers, or cannot use a mouse.
We use the evidence we gain from our work to respond to Government consultations and input into inquiries.
News you may have missed
We look at individual complaints about local public services and all registerable social care providers in England.
We remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to improve services. When we find a council or care provider has done something wrong, we recommend how it should put it right. We are free to use and make our decisions independently.