Issue - meetings

Standing Item: Upheld Complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman

Meeting: 28/07/2022 - Audit and Governance Committee (Item 28)

28 Standing Item: Upheld Complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman pdf icon PDF 822 KB

To consider a summary of the complaints received and considered by the Council during the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 (2021-2022).


At the start of the meeting, a letter addressed to the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council and Chair of the appropriate Scrutiny Committee, from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman was circulated to the Committee.  The letter had been received after report publication; and was an annual summary of compliant statistics for the year ending 31 March 2022 with opportunities to learn and improve noting that in three of the cases, remedies were not made in agreed timescales.

Brian Reed, Head of Democratic Services and Governance introduced the report to the Committee.  The report provided a summary of complaints received and considered by the council during the period 1st April 2021- 31st March 2022 and included complaints considered at Stage One and Stage Two of the complaints policy and those referred to the Ombudsman.  Complaints were noted in the area of Highways and SEND (special educational needs and disabilities).

The report provided information about measures taken by service departments to address key areas in respect of the complaints made.

The Committee found the annual summary of Ombudsman outcomes and complaints report to be helpful and comprehensive; and noted that the SEND service provided by the council was an important area of work and that the Council had responded effectively providing remedies with training and developing staff.  The training programme was in place for staff, and encompassed both internal and external training.

Alan Ward, Complaints Officer advised the Committee that complaint numbers sat between 2-3,000 per year.  The Committee discussed complaints dealt with within timescales and it was noted 84% were dealt with within 20 working days, whilst 16% went beyond. 


a)    the content of the report, plus the Council’s compliance with the Corporate Complaints Policy and recommendations of the Ombudsman be received and noted.

Meeting: 10/03/2022 - Audit and Governance Committee (Item 75)

75 Upheld Complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To consider the Decision Notices issues by the Local Government Ombudsman.


Alan Ward, Complaints Officer attended the meeting via Microsoft Teams to

introduce the report. The Committee were advised there had been two upheld

complaints between 1 December 2021 and 31 January 2022. One related to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), and one to Highways.


The Committee considered the report and the following points were made:


·         The costs attributed to upheld complaints through delays by the council;

·         The acknowledgement that officers get things wrong but when complaints were upheld the possibility of appropriate measures to motivate improvement; and

·         Reports to Councillors via the Town and Parish Councils that complaints are not resolved and the impact of this on the reputation of Cheshire East Council.


The Committee considered what reassurances could be implemented, the Director of Governance and Compliance and the Monitoring Officer noted that the Committee had agreed, as part of the Action Tasks, that a consolidated report of upheld complaints would be compiled to help identify themes and trends.  The Chair requested that each theme be considered on its own merit to recognise lessons learned and seek reassurances that things will get better and that the reputation of the Council would not drop. 


That the report be received and noted.