During the year ending 31st March 2022, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman upheld 62% of complaints they investigated against Cheshire East Council. This compares to an average of 64% in similar organisations.
A total of 29 investigations took place during the year and there were 18 upheld decisions. The Ombudsman uphold complaints when they find fault in an organisation's actions, including where the organisation accepted fault before we investigated.
The Ombudsman then recommends ways for organisations to put things right when faults have caused injustice and monitor their compliance with our recommendations. In 100% of cases they were satisfied Cheshire East Council had successfully implemented our recommendations.
In 11% of upheld cases they found CEC had provided a satisfactory remedy before the complaint reached the Ombudsman. The statistics are based on a total of 18 upheld decisions for the period between 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, in two of which they found two satisfactory remedy decisions had been provided.
In a letter to Mrs O'Donnell, Chief Executive of Cheshire East Council, Michael King, Chair of Commission for Local Administration in England, wrote "I welcome that your Council agreed to, and implemented, the recommendations we made in ten cases during the year, however, it is disappointing that in three of these cases remedies were not completed within the agreed timescales.
"I acknowledge the pressures councils are under, but such delays add to the injustice already suffered by complainants. I invite the Council to consider how it might make improvements to act on our recommendations within the agreed timescales."
He added "It is my continued view that complaint functions have been under-resourced in recent years, a trend only exacerbated by the challenges of the pandemic. Through the lens of this recent upheaval and adjustment, I urge you to consider how your organisation prioritises complaints, particularly in terms of capacity and visibility."
The Ombudsman upheld 69% of complaints in the North West, which has increased from 65% last year.
This latest data for regions also shows:
- Most complaints are about Children and Education - 24%, up from 23% last year
- Fewest complaints are about Housing at 4%, down from 5% last year
- Highest uphold rate is for complaints about Adult Social Care and Children and Education (78%).
- Last year this was for Corporate and Other Services (78% last year)
- Lowest uphold rate is for Planning (42%, up from 30% last year)
- This region has the joint highest proportion of its complaints about Benefits and Taxation (10%, England-wide average of 8%), and Environmental Services (14% compared with 12% England-wide)
- This region has the lowest proportion of its complaints about Housing (4% compared with England-wide average of 13%)
- This region has the highest uphold rate nationwide for its complaints about Highways and Transportation (71%, compared with national average of 55%)