Dozens of Doncaster Council complaints considered by local government watchdog

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A total of 86 complaints were made against Doncaster Council to a local government watchdog in the last financial year, new figures show.

The report shows the Local Government Ombudsman received 17,452 complaints and enquiries about council practices in 2017-18 nationally, compared with 16,863 in the previous year.

In Doncaster, adult social care received 19 complaints while education and children's services had 18.

Residents made 13 complaints over environmental services and public protection along with 12 complaints regarding planning and development matters.

A total of eight complaints related to housing, highways received six complaints while benefits and corporate services had five each.

Of these, just one complaint was deemed invalid and a further two issues were given advice by LGO officers.

A total of 31 complaints were referred back to Doncaster Council to resolve at a local level, while a further 24 complaints were closed after initial enquiries.

Of the 25 complaints ruled on by the Ombudsman, 13 were upheld against the council.

A total of 11 complaints were remedied by the Ombudsman, and just two by Doncaster Council

Nationally, the proportion of complaints it has upheld has increased to 57 per ent - up from 54 per cent the previous year.

The Ombudsman has also issued 40 per cent more public interest reports about local authorities in the same period.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “The raw data included in our report can only tell a part of the story – the wider outcomes from the complaints we receive are far more important than the numbers.

“For a long time, we’ve been pressing just how important complaints can be as a learning tool for local authorities – and a great source of free feedback about the health of the services they provide.

“We know being on the receiving end of an upheld complaint can be a tough pill to swallow, particularly in these difficult times. But this year, we’ve seen some really positive examples of councils taking on board our recommendations, making root and branch reviews of their services and putting in place changes that will help many more than just the person who originally came to us.

“Over the coming year I hope even more councils will take on a more mature and positive reflection of the data we provide, their annual letters and the many focus reports and public interest reports we issue and use these tools to scrutinise where their own services might be improved.”

The Ombudsman investigates complaints about all local authorities and social care providers in England.