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For third year in a row, Ombudsman raises concerns over Ealing Council delays in dealing with residents complaints, report finds

In its annual report on how Ealing Council is performing on how it deals with complaints and standards, the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman has raised concerns  and said it is “disappointed” that the council continues to be slow in dealing with issues and on one occasion took two years to resolve.

A total of 150 complaints and enquiries about Labour run Ealing Council were made to the Ombudsman between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022.

In a letter to newly appointment Ealing Council chief executive Tony Clements, Michael King, chair of the the Ombudsman highlighted its concerns regarding complaints made to the council by members of the public and the way in which it deals with them.

Among the concerns, the Ombudsman said: “During the year, we issued one public report about your Council after a care provider, acting on your behalf, falsified their daily records when we asked for copies. Additionally, the Council failed to act when a safeguarding alert was raised, until a complaint was made. It then carried out a flawed investigation, which failed to consider relevant evidence or properly investigate the concerns raised.”

Mr King said the council recognised its failure on this issue by adding: “I am pleased to note you accepted our findings and have agreed to our recommendations to
remedy the personal injustice to the complainant and to make service improvements, which we hope will help to prevent a re-occurrence of the faults we identified.”

But the Ombudsman highlighted its “disappointment” and concern that despite the council being instructed to resolve issues, nearly 25% of them were not resolved within agreed timescales and one case taking over two years.

Mr King added: “We recorded our satisfaction with your Council’s compliance in 25 cases where we recommended a remedy. However, it is disappointing that in six of these cases, remedies were not completed within the agreed timescales. In one case it took over two years to carry out a policy review. This is the third consecutive year where I have raised concerns about delays in the remedy process, so it is disappointing to see the issue persists. I once again invite the Council to consider how it might make improvements to act on our recommendations within the agreed timescales. If the Council consider the proposed timescales are not achievable, it can request further time to complete the recommendations when it responds to our draft decisions.”

Liberal Democrats have said the Ombudsman report shows an ongoing and urgent need for the council to “make changes”.

Councillor Gary Malcolm, Leader of the Opposition, Ealing Council, said: “Liberal Democrats for many years have said that too many people have troubled getting problems reported and fixed. They feel the Council is not listening to them. Each complaint shows something has gone wrong. Labour-run Ealing Council needs to admit they are failing in this area. They need to make changes to ensure that residents’ complaints are dealt with quickly and actions put in place to stop them happening again.”

 

EALING.NEWS has contacted Ealing Council for a comment on the findings of the Ombudsman report.

To view the full report, visit

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