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LGO issues guidance for councils on effective complaint handling

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has issued new guidance on effective complaint handling for local authorities, saying it offers “practical, real-world advice”.

The document, which is based on previous publications, runs through the steps authorities need to take to ensure complaints are properly identified, investigated and put right where necessary.

It also examines statutory procedures for children’s and adult social care complaints, guidance on dealing with third-party complaints, and advice on how to draw out the learning from the issues raised.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “We have been investigating complaints for more than 45 years, and throughout that time we have seen both good and bad practices.

“The guide we are issuing today offers practical advice, based on our vast experience, on how to run an effective complaints process.”

Mr King added: “We urge local authority complaint handlers to take on board our guidance because we know how valuable the learning from complaints can be.

“The best authorities use complaints as a barometer of external opinion and as an early warning of problems that might otherwise stay unseen. They take that a step further and use critical feedback to drive a sophisticated culture of learning, reflection and improvement.”

Launched on Ombudsday, which aims to raise awareness of the work of Ombudsman schemes, the new guide is available free to download from the LGSCO’s website at www.lgo.org.uk.