Hastings council sees just one complaint upheld


Hastings Borough Council received just 20 complaints with only one being upheld in the 12 months to March 31, 2014, according to the latest figures published by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

Of the 20 complaints received, seven related to tax and benefits and a further four about planning and development issues. Just three required detailed investigations with just one complaint upheld.

The borough compared positively to other local areas. West Sussex received 126 complaints, Brighton & Hove residents made 112 complaints, East Sussex totalled 109 complaints, Eastbourne and Crawley both received 20 complaints.

The Rother district which includes Bexhill received just 16, the same total as Lewes and Tunbridge Wells.

Last year, 2012-13, Hastings Borough Council received 11 complaints against an average across the UK for borough council’s of 10.

This year, complaints are recorded under a new business model so the figures will not be directly comparable to previous years.

Kevin Boorman, head of communications and marketing for Hastings Borough Council, said: “We try our best to offer a good service to our residents and visitors, but occasionally things do go wrong. We pride ourselves on our openness and accessibility, and encourage people to tell us when our service falls short of expectations.

“We are obviously pleased that only one of the 21 complaints referred to the Ombudsman was upheld, although even that is one too many.”

Overall, across the UK, complaints about tax and benefits increased by 26 percent and complaints about local authority adult social care went up by 16 percent.The two areas where local authorities were most likely to uphold complaints in detailed investigations were also in benefits and tax (49 percent), and adult social care (48 percent).

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said: “We are releasing this data so that the public has a better understanding of the role of the Ombudsman and the work we do. We also hope the information will support better local accountability by helping people make informed choices about local public services.It is important that the public has a clear route to redress when things go wrong.”