Complaints to Ombudsman reach nine-year high

Complaints to Ombudsman reach nine-year high

Peter Tyndall

Complaints to the Ombudsman rose by nine per cent to reach a nine-year high last year, according to new figures.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall, who considers complaints from people who use public services, received 3,664 complaints in 2019.

There were increases across nearly all sectors, including a 13 per cent rise in complaints about housing and a 17 per cent rise in complaints about the education sector, which includes bodies providing student grants and education grants for people with disabilities.

Writing in the introduction to his 2019 annual report, Mr Tyndall said: “We have highlighted instances where we have improved public services for all users by ensuring that service providers learn from failings identified in individual complaints we have received.

“The underlying causes can be due to a lack of training; a lack of, or poor procedures; the failure to exercise discretion; inconsistency or misinterpretation. Sometimes, correctly following the law and procedures can bring about an unfair or unjust outcome.

“In this report there are examples where processes have been rewritten, where schemes have been changed and where staff have been re-trained. If the law itself is causing the unfair outcomes, we will ask for it to be changed.”

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