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Review recommends one ombudsman for public sector services

The new ombudsman would combine the functions of the Local Government and Health Service Ombudsmen

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 02 December 2013

An independent review has recommended that the government reforms the Local Government Ombudsman, which deals with poor council services, and considers creating a single public services ombudsman for England, which also deals with complaints against the health service.

Establishing a one-stop-shop for problems or complaints will make it easier for the public to register complaints and seek redress, the review’s report, Governance Review of the Local Government Ombudsman Service, says.

Currently the public can complain to either the Local Government Ombudsman when they feel they’ve suffered poor service from local government and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman about complaints regarding the NHS. However, some cases straddle their jurisdiction and this is likely to be increasingly the case as health and social services work much more closely together.

The review conducted by Robert Gordon CB, a former director general in the Scottish government, carefully examined how the ombudsman operated and what would benefit taxpayers better in the future.

Commenting on its recommendations, Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The old ombudsman structure was outdated and not up to the task, modernising the organisation now is essential. In the longer term, creating a single ombudsman service for England may well provide us with the opportunity to deliver an excellent service to the public into the future.”

The government intends to develop and test ideas for how such a one-stop-shop service might operate.

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