KCC tops league for complaints about education
Ombudsman intervened in 34 of 183 cases
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.