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Bolton Council at fault in 83% of complaints, watchdog finds

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

The council was at fault in 83 per cent of cases investigated by the national watchdog last year.

More than four in five complaints investigated by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LG&SCO) were upheld.

This includes the council’s handling of noise nuisance, an appeal about school admissions and the quality of care at a care home.

In the last example, the council apologised and paid the complainant £500 for the distress caused during her late husband’s respite care.

This comes after Bolton Council was criticised for failing to properly cooperate with investigations.

LG&SCO chairman Michael King welcomed steps taken this year such as recruiting additional staff and introducing a “more robust” complaints process.

He said: “I am pleased to report we have seen fewer delays in the council’s responses to our enquiries, which indicates the new processes are having a positive impact.”

Mr King praised the council for complying with recommendations in 21 cases but expressed disappointment that in five of them, remedies were not completed with the agreed timescales.

Borough solicitor Helen Gorman told councillors that this happened in the first part of the year when the local authority was still having problems with its procedure.

She also described some figures as an “unfair representation”, noting that only 28 per cent of all complaints made were upheld.

This is because not all cases are fully investigated by the LG&SCO but the uphold rate relates to all the complaints it dealt with. She said: “It doesn’t look very good, does it, when you see 83 per cent? But when you look at it in the broader context of the numbers, it’s not where we want to be but we’re certainly heading in the right direction.”

The LG&SCO made 75 decisions relating to Bolton Council last year but only 29 resulted in detailed investigations. Of the remaining 46 complaints, 27 were referred back for local resolution and 16 were closed after initial enquiries.

A total of 65 complaints were received last year, 11 fewer than the previous year and four fewer than the year before.



Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

I'd have thought the council's aim would be to get that up to 100% as currently 17% of the complaints are bullshit and yet taxpayer's money is being wasted on investigating them. Not sure what they can do about deterring timewasters though.

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