Almost 100 complaints made about Havering Council

Havering Town Hall.

Havering Town Hall. - Credit: Archant

Almost 100 complaints were made about Havering Council in the last year, a new report has revealed.

The local government ombudsmen Jane Martin has published her annual figures for the year 2014/15, which show the numbers are down on 2013/14.

A total of 97 complaints were received about the authority, 19 of which were for housing-related issues.

Another 17 complaints were about highways and 14 were over planning and development problems.

Education and benefits/tax both received 13 complaints, while environmental issues and adult services both had nine. The final three complaints were regarding corporate issues.

Of the complaints received, 18 detailed investigations were carried out, with seven upheld and 11 not upheld. A huge 48 were referred back for local resolution.

Of the seven upheld, the council acknowledged two of them and paid out compensation, while the other five involved no financial penalty “beyond anything the council had agreed to undertake to rectify the position.”

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The figures are down from the previous year, when 119 complaints were made, 21 investigated and 10 upheld.

The report points out a possible “skew” on figures which could lead to them being inflated.

When recording a complaint, the council counts the initial inquiry, the actual complaint and then a possible investigation as three separate entries. There are, however, generally no more than two entries for most cases.

The ombudsman’s report also warned the complaints system in local government is under increasing pressure.

Councils are dealing with more complaints and have less resource available to manage them due to cuts. On average, people spent nine months trying to resolve their issue before turning to the ombudsman.