KCC tops league for com­plaints about ed­u­ca­tion

Om­buds­man in­ter­vened in 34 of 183 cases

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Spe­cial Re­port - By Paul Fran­cis

Kent County Coun­cil had the high­est num­ber of com­plaints about ed­u­ca­tion and chil­dren’s ser­vices of any author­ity in the coun­try, a re­port by a coun­cil watch­dog has re­vealed.

The Lo­cal Govern­ment Om­buds­man says the coun­cil had 89 com­plaints over chil­dren’s ser­vices in 2016-2017. How­ever, that was 21 fewer than the pre­vi­ous year.

KCC also had the sec­ond high­est num­ber of com­plaints con­cern­ing adult care ser­vices– 61 – with only Es­sex county coun­cil record­ing more, at 64. That com­pares with 62 com­plaints the pre­vi­ous year.

Over­all, the om­buds­man had 183 com­plaints about KCC ser­vices of which 42 were up­held fol­low­ing de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tions, and 25 were not up­held.

A to­tal of 46 com­plaints were closed af­ter ini­tial in­quiries and 61 were re­solved lo­cally.

The om­buds­man in­ter­vened in 34 cases to rem­edy the com­plaint – slightly higher than the pre­vi­ous year.

It is­sued only one for­mal pub­lic re­port against KCC over a com­plaint con­cern­ing a child’s care. It found the coun­cil had failed to take into ac­count a par­ent’s need to work when as­sess­ing the child’s needs and told KCC to pay £1,000 in com­pen­sa­tion.

KCC said in a state­ment: “Kent County Coun­cil does its best to en­sure peo­ple can eas­ily raise con­cerns about the ser­vices we pro­vide. We try hard in the first in­stance to re­solve the is­sue when we speak to some­one who has a com­plaint.

“We in­ves­ti­gate all com­plaints we re­ceive and re­spond as quickly as pos­si­ble. We con­stantly strive to im­prove those ser­vices if some­thing is wrong.”

It added that it ac­tively en­cour­aged res­i­dents to take up their com­plaints with the om­buds­man where they were un­happy with the coun­cil’s re­sponse.

“As one of the UK’s largest lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, KCC is al­ways likely to fea­ture to­wards the top of ta­bles in terms of the num­ber of com­plaints re­ceived.”

The author­ity had some ser­vices that oth­ers did not, such as gram­mar schools, which were of­ten be­hind many com­plaints.

Med­way coun­cil had a to­tal of 82 com­plaints, of which eight were for adult care and 26 for chil­dren’s ser­vices.

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