Posted May 2, 2024

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News from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman – April 2024

Welcome…

Welcome to the latest edition of News from the Ombudsman.

In this edition you can read about:

  • Our plans for 2024-27.
  • How we’re starting to implement our Complaint Handling Code.
  • How we use lessons from complaints.
  • How to complain if you’re unhappy with the school place you’ve been allocated.
  • How you can work for us.

We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter. If you’d like to hear more about the work we do, why not follow us on or LinkedIn?


Looking to the future: our plans for 2024 – 2027

Looking to the future

We’ve recently laid out our future plans and priorities in our new Three Year Plan for 2024 – 2027.

The plan recognises the challenging environments that councils, social care providers and we, as an Ombudsman, are operating in. But at the same time it is ambitious about improving public services, reaching more people and enhancing customer service.

The next three years will see us use technology smartly and empower councils and social care providers to take on more ownership for providing good services.

We will reach more of the people and communities who don’t currently ask for our help and we will play an increasing role in making whole systems better. Data will be used more effectively and shared with more people, and we will strive to make our service better while ensuring the organisations we oversee make improvements too.

The Three Year Plan is delivered through our annual business plans with progress reviewed every quarter and reported to our senior management and Board.


Complaint Handling Code Pilots

Contract agreement

Following the publication of our Complaint Handling Code we invited councils to take part in a pilot. The pilot will help us understand the challenges and opportunities the Code presents to local councils in England, and will inform an accompanying guide to the Code setting out good practice which we hope to publish in early 2025.

We received a lot of interest from a diverse range of councils. The following councils will be taking part in the pilot:

District Councils

  • North Norfolk District Council
  • Maidstone District Council
  • North Kesteven District Council
  • Fareham District Council
  • Hart District Council
  • Sevenoaks District Council

London Boroughs

  • London Borough of Lambeth
  • London Borough of Redbridge

Metropolitan and unitary councils

  • North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Liverpool City Council
  • Telford and Wrekin Council
  • Bath & North East Somerset Council
  • Herefordshire Council
  • West Northamptonshire Council
  • Buckinghamshire Council

County councils

  • Sussex County Council
  • Staffordshire County Council

We will be meeting with each group of councils regularly to hear their feedback on adopting the Code as well as supporting them to share any learning among the wider pilot group.

We are encouraging all councils to adopt the Code as soon as they can. We intend to start considering the Code as part of our processes from April 2026 at the earliest. This gives councils the opportunity to adopt the Code successfully into working practices. The Code itself will not change as a result of the pilots but learning from these councils will inform the accompanying guide and the way we will use the Code when we apply it in our casework.

Read the Code


Using our casework to inform policy

Information sharing

In the last couple of months we have responded to a wide range of consultations, from Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) consultations on addressing the local audit backlog in England, and reforms to social housing allocations.

We also responded to an Enforcement Conduct Board (ECB) consultation on their draft business plan.

In all these consultations we draw on our experience and expertise from our casework. We make sure to stress the importance of our role in the redress system, improving access to our service and the lessons learned from our casework.

Read our submissions


School places

Children walking to school

Earlier this month, many families across the country will have received information about the schools their youngsters will be attending in September.

If you are one of those families, and you have concerns about the place you were allocated, we have helpful factsheets on our role investigating complaints about School Admissions and Infant Class Size Appeals.


Join our team

Woman using laptop close up

We’re in the process of recruiting new investigators to our teams, hybrid working but attached to our Coventry and York offices.

Investigators assess and/or investigate complaints made to us, including complaints relating to failings in services by local authorities and social care providers.

Our Investigators look at complaints about most services that organisations within our remit offer, with a large proportion of our work involving complaints about children’s services and special educational needs.

The closing date for applications is Monday 13 May.

Find out more


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