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Watchdog receives almost 100 complaints against Havering Council

PUBLISHED: 13:24 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:24 01 August 2018

Local Government Ombudsman head Michael King. Pic: LGO

Local Government Ombudsman head Michael King. Pic: LGO

Archant

A watchdog received almost 100 complaints about Havering Council, figures reveal.

In total the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) received 94 gripes against the local authority between April 2017 and March 2018.

Ombudsman Michael King said: “We publish our annual data to help with transparency and improve services for people.

“We are pleased to continue our good working relationship with the majority of authorities and appreciate the willingness we see in learning from our investigations.

“But there is so much more councils can do with the information we share to improve the services they provide.”

The LGO – which sits at the top of a local government complaints system – deals with people still not satisfied after their council has had a chance to put a situation right.

Every July it publishes details of the complaints and enquiries it receives on its website.

The commonest complaints in Havering were about housing (35) followed by adult social care (13) and roads (13).

Out of the 94 total, 36 were sent back to the council to handle with 10 upheld by the LGO following investigations. Of these seven complaints were sorted out by the LGO and two by the council.

The number of complaints received by the LGO sometimes doesn’t equal the number upheld because not every complaint gives the watchdog grounds to say a fault led to an injustice that needed to be remedied.

Low complaint volumes can be a sign an organisation is not alive to residents’ feedback, rather than always showing that all is well.

Mr King – in a letter to council chief Andrew Blake-Herbert – warned: “Low complaint volumes can be a worrying sign that an organisation is not alive to user feedback, rather than always being an indicator that all is well.”

He stressed the numbers didn’t in themselves reveal how well the council operates.

Havering was not the most complained about council in the capital. It came eleventh out of 32 London boroughs. Newham claimed the top spot with 227.

Havering Council has been contacted for comment.

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