Newham is second most complained about council in England, ombudsman reveals
- Credit: Archant
Newham Council received the second highest number of complaints of any local authority in England last year, new figures show.
A total of 298 complaints were made against the council through the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), making it the most complained about local authority in London. Only Birmingham City Council ranked worse nationally, with a total of 578.
In its annual review of local government complaints, the mediatory body found that Newham had received the most for highways and transport with a total of 82. Buckinghamshire Council followed behind with 54 complaints in this category.
The borough also received the second highest number of housing complaints in England, with a total of 99. Again, only Birmingham City Council fared worse with 105.
The LGO states in its report that the intelligence from complaints can be used to “learn lessons, spot early warning signs and understand public sentiment”.
It adds: “Releasing the data in this report is just one example where we can help hold a mirror up to councils so they can compare, contrast and reflect on their own approach to handling complaints.
“In doing so, we help to encourage local accountability by supporting the scrutiny of local services.”
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In total, the LGO dealt with 311 complaints against Newham Council last year (the figure is higher because some decisions relate to complaints received the year before).
The ombusdsman only sees complaints that have not been resolved at a local level. A complaint is upheld when a fault is found in the way a council has acted, even if it remedies the situation during an investigation.
A Newham Council spokeswoman said: “Local government is under increasing pressure in the face of government cuts.
“Newham Council provides a wide range of services to 330,000 residents in a highly deprived part of the country and has been forced to accept a higher proportion of cuts than richer areas.
“Despite this pressure, resident surveys have shown a sustained level of satisfaction with council services in recent years.
“In 2014/15 of the 311 complaints considered by the LGO, the majority of complaints were referred back to the council and only a quarter of cases were investigated by the ombudsman – only 14 per cent of cases were upheld.”
Visit lgo.org.uk for more.