Scores of complaints about Hampshire’s local authorities taken up by Local Government Ombudsman

Portsmouth City Council Civic Offices
Portsmouth City Council Civic Offices

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  • Figures contained in The Local Government Ombudsman’s annual review
  • Complaints largely about adult social care and children and education services
  • Region’s leaders not concerned with statistics
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SCORES of complaints about councils in the area have been made to a UK watchdog, The News can reveal.

Annual figures published by the Local Government Ombudsman reveal the level of concern about a range of services authorities run.

The nature of social services is, it plays a central role in the client’s life, and therefore for obvious and understandable reasons, if they are not happy with the care provided to them then they are likely to complain about them.

Tory councillor Luke Stubbs, responsible for planning and adult social care in Portsmouth

Between 2014/2015, 45 complaints were made about Portsmouth’s services, with nearly half about children and education – 11 – and adult social care – 10.

Hampshire County Council, which runs a number of services across the boroughs, was hit hardest with 107.

Most were related to adult care – 40 – and education and children’s work – 46.

Eleven related to highways and transport, five to do with corporate matters, three about planning and two for environment issues.

Sixteen complaints were lodged against both Gosport and Havant councils, related to transport, housing, planning and benefit matters.

Fareham saw the fewest complaints with eight – four of which were about planning and development plans.

Fareham Borough Council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, who is also a member of the county’s executive, said: ‘I don’t think this is a cause for concern. Clearly we don’t want any complaints at all, but people are entitled to do so.

‘In education, the most common sort of complaint is that a child doesn’t get a place at a preferred school. So the parent will appeal, and if they don’t like the outcome, they can go to the ombudsman. It doesn’t mean they’ll get that child a place, but it makes them feel better if they take the complaint as far as they possibly can.’

Tory councillor Luke Stubbs, responsible for planning and adult social care in Portsmouth, said the figures were ‘reassuringly low’.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The nature of social services is, it plays a central role in the client’s life, and therefore for obvious and understandable reasons, if they are not happy with the care provided to them then they are likely to complain about them.’

‘Portsmouth’s social services deal with a huge number of clients, so these numbers are reassuringly low.

The region’s councils ranked much lower compared to other UK authorities, with the highest number of complaints being lodged against Birmingham with 578.

Sixty nine complaints were made about Southampton services, 24 more than Portsmouth.