More people complain about council

South Tyneside Council was the subject of nearly 50 complaints and enquiries to a watchdog last year, new figures show.

Council ombudsman complaints increase
Council ombudsman complaints increase

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is responsible for investigating alleged wrongdoing in local public services.

According to figures from the body, there were 48 complaints or enquiries made about South Tyneside Council in the year to March – up from 31 the year before.

After investigation, the Ombudsman found the council to have acted unjustly on six occasions.

The most common reason for complaints in the area were issues related to environmental services, with 10 complaints.

Nationally, the number of complaints rose compared to last year, with 15,826 in the year to March – up 25% from 11,830 last year, but below the 17,019 recorded in 2019-20.

Education and children's services were the most common reason to get in touch with the organisation, followed by planning, development, adult social care, and housing.

Councils were found to have acted unjustly on 2,678 occasions, a 27% increase on the year before.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: "The vast majority of councils agree to the recommendations we make and see them as common-sense ways of providing better services."

Peter Fleming, chairman of the Local Government Association’s improvement and innovation board said: "Councils continue to deliver the crucial services while also managing the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and the challenges that brings.

"It is positive that, in 99.7% of case, councils are implementing recommendations made.Local authorities are determined to make sure these issues do not occur again."