Fewer than five complaints about Mansfield Council lodged with watchdog

Fewer than five complaints about Mansfield Council were lodged with a local government watchdog last year, figures show.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:00 pm

The coronavirus pandemic has intensified existing problems, ‘widened cracks’ and contributed to the most difficult time in several years for local authorities nationally, according to the local government ombudsman.

The body looks at complaints about councils.

Figures from the LGSCO show three complaints or enquiries about Mansfield Council were lodged in the year to March, down from 14 the year before – although the ombudsman was closed to new complaints between March and June 2020.

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Mansfield Council's Civic Centre and, inset, Michael King, local government and social care ombudsman.

James Biddlestone, council head of people and transformation, said: “We are committed to providing a high standard of service to all our customers.

“As part of our continuing effort to improve the services we provide, we rely on the feedback we receive.

“We want to know when we get it right, so standards can be maintained, and we welcome suggestions on how we can improve.

“We also want to know when something has gone wrong, or when someone is not happy with any of our services.”

He said there are various ways to make a complaint, including via mansfield.gov.uk/complain

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Education and children’s services were the subject of the largest proportion of complaints and enquiries nationally, with more than 2,300 lodged last year.

A further 1,700 related to planning and development, while more than 1,600 were about adult social care.

At the height of the first lockdown, the ombudsman was closed to new cases and halted ongoing investigations.

Pandemic-related disruption contributed to a significant drop in complaints and enquiries across England, with 11,800 received – down from 17,000 the year before.

But the proportion of all cases upheld nationally has grown and was 67 per cent in 2020-21, compared with 61 per cent in 2019-20.

Michael King, local government and social care ombudsman, said the figures showed investigators were finding fault more often.

He said the growing percentage of upheld social care cases nationally reflected a ‘relentless rise’ in the proportion of cases where care users and their families were let down by local services and the adult social care system was progressively failing to deliver for those who need it most.

A Government spokesman said billions of pounds had been provided to local authorities to address pressures on their services.

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