Ombudsman upholds 11 out of 12 complaints it investigated against Calderdale Council

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman upheld 11 out of 12 complaints against Calderdale Council that the service investigated.

Calderdale.

The Ombudsman’s annual report, which covers local authorities and adult care providers in England, covers complaints made about the authority in the year to March 31, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the year’s statistics as to allow authorities to respond to it, the Ombudsman did not accept new complaints and stopped investigating existing cases between March and June 2020.

This reduced the number of complaints the Ombudsman service received and decided nationally in the year 2020-21.

The 92 per cent of complaints the Ombudsman investigated which were upheld regarding Calderdale is higher than an average of 72 per cent in similar authorities.

Calderdale Council implemented the Ombudsman’s recommendations in 100 per cent of cases.

In none of the cases it upheld did the Ombudsman find the authority had provided a satisfactory remedy before the complaint reached the service.

Between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, the Ombudsman upheld 11 of 12 complaints, rejecting the other.

These featured a range of issues, from children’s care matters to Council Tax decisions.

Thirteen other complaints were closed after the Ombudsman’s initial inquiries with no fault attached to the council.

Towards the end of each calendar year the complaints are among those for the preceding council year which are considered by the council’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board councillors, who consider complaints and compliments the authority receives.

Councillors at the meeting are told: “The council responds to all complaints by following their procedures and seeks to learn and improve services as a result of complaints received.”

The council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Board councillors also consider complaints made to that directorate, again usually towards the end of the calendar year – its members are told the report will assist them to determine whether there are areas which require more in-depth scrutiny.

Data from this year’s statistics shows the Yorkshire and the Humber region as a whole has a 68 per cent uphold rate, which is above the national rate of 67 per cent.

This region has the highest uphold rate nationwide for adult care services, 83 per cent compared to 72 per cent nationally.

Nationally, over the past year the Ombudsman has upheld a greater proportion of investigations– 67 per cent – than ever before, continuing an upward trend since the Ombudsman started publishing its uphold rate.

Nationally, there were 1,488 recommendations for councils to improve their services for others – such as revising procedures and training staff – suggesting Ombudsman investigations are increasingly finding systemic problems than one-off mistakes with local government services, says the service.

The Ombudsman writes to local councils giving them a round-up of the complaints the organisation has received about them – these letters are published on the Ombudsman’s website, along with some case details.