Some 18,000 people complain to the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman) every year. However, because the LGO don't clearly explain what they can and can't investigate only about 10,000 of those complaints actually fall within their remit. That means that some 8000 people a year waste time and effort submitting a complaint to the wrong body. The private sector wouldn't put up with such a drain on their resources and would soon find a way of educating people about their business. It's not rocket science after all it's simple marketing.
So why does the LGO accept this curious situation (nearly 50% of the people who complain to them shouldn't have done) , without seeking and promoting an effective remedy.
The answer is simple. The LGO use these 8,000 people to manipulate their headline grabbing statistics. The average cost of resolving a complaint provides an example. The LGO, unlike other Ombudsmen, include all complaints (curiously even those that don't even fall within their remit to investigate). As a result they can imply that each complaint cost them some £600 rather than £1,100 to resolve.
Are they really suggesting that it costs them an average of £600 just to send a complainant a letter telling them that their complaint is outside their remit to investigate. Surely it would be more cost effective to market their service correctly so people know exactly what they can and can't do in the first place.
If people kept knocking at your door asking for someone who didn't live at your house, how long would it be before you put a sign on your door. However, I bet you would remove the sign if I promised to give you £600 for everyone you redirected.
Here's one of my statistics. Using the LGO's own figures it costs the taxpayer about £4.8 million a year just to tell 8,000 people they can't investigate their complaint. I wonder why the Audit Commission puts up with such an extravagant use of taxpayers cash?