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Ombudsman complaints directly linked to nature and level of complexity of an authority

Date: 1/9/2017

Planning magazine reports new figures showing that while planning is among the council service areas that were subject of the greatest proportion of complaints to the local government ombudsman in the last year, planning-related complaints are in fact the least likely to be upheld by the body.

Steve Ingram, President of the Planning Officers Society, told Planning that the number of complaints is directly linked to the nature and level of complexity of the authority. "The large metropolitan and unitary authorities will have more complaints overall simply by the nature of what they deal with". Planning services are likely to be subject to a "far higher" proportion of complaints in rural districts because these authorities are not responsible for adult social care, education or highways, he added.

The ombudsman acts as a distributor of best practice, Ingram said, and if a council didn't follow the LGO's recommendations and was to "trip up again, its defence would be weakened." Adhering to LGO proposals for improvement only helps a council's credibility, he said, which, after all is "one of the keys for a local community's view of the planning system".

Steve Ingram President 17_18_web.jpg Steve Ingram

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