The number of complaints against government bodies has hit a record, Michael Buckley, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, said yesterday. Of the 1,920 complaints referred to his office last year by MPs, half related to the Department of Social Security.
Mr Buckley, who was appointed in January on the retirement of Sir William Reid, said the level of complaints was such that he could only investigate those where there was a realistic chance of obtaining redress or highlighting defects in a department's systems.
"In a very busy office we need to devote our energies where they will do most good. In 1989, the year before Sir William took office, 677 complaints were received," Mr Buckley said. "The unrelenting growth in workload over the last seven years has brought problems in the shape of excessive backlogs and an increase in case throughput times."