The truth is that it costs the taxpayer 7 times more to pay for the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate a valid complaint than a complainant receives in compensation.
Last year some 4954 complaints were categorised as premature by the Local Government Ombudsman. That’s about 27% of all complaints submitted to them.
As far as the Local Government Ombudsman is concerned the definition of a premature complaint is
‘Premature complaints are those which are not accepted for consideration by the Local Government Ombudsmen because the councils concerned have not had a reasonable opportunity to deal with them first. Premature complaints are sent to the councils concerned with a request that they should investigate them. If a complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of a council’s investigation, he or she can complain to the Ombudsman again.’ (My Emphasis)
In addition a further 2376 complaints were categorised as outside their jurisdiction. That’s about 13% of all complaints. As far as the Local Government Ombudsman is concerned the definition of a complaint outside their jurisdiction is
‘The Ombudsmen can investigate most types of complaints against local authorities. But there are some things the law does not allow them to investigate, such as personnel matters, the internal management of schools and colleges, and matters which affect all or most of the people living in a council’s area. Such complaints, when they are terminated, are described as being outside jurisdiction.’
That means some 40% of complaints were not valid complaints and should not have been submitted to the Local Government Ombudsman.
The Local Government Ombudsman states
‘The average cost per complaint in 2005/06 was £640 . This was 1.9 per cent more than the cost per complaint in 2004/05 when inflation is taken into account. The main reason for this was the increased costs of pension fund and National Insurance contributions.’ (My emphasis) Worthy of a separate posting?
The question is why do the Local Government Ombudsman include the above when they are nothing more than enquiries.
As a result the real cost of the Local Government Ombudsman is not £640 per complaint as they suggest but closer to £900 per valid complaint. With the average valid complainant getting about £128 as a result of the Local Government Ombudsman’s involvement they are clearly not cost effective.
Don't forget most of the premature complaints costing the Local Government Ombudsman £640 to deal with end up as another complaint after a few months.
'....he or she can complain to the Ombudsman again
Looks like a case of double counting to improve their statistics to me.