Councils give less cause for complaint

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The number of complaints against local councils fell by 15 per cent in the year to 31 March, according to the Commissioner for Local Administration in Scotland Annual Report.

But although this was encouraging, Derrick Marks, the Local Government Ombudsman, took the opportunity to remind the new unitary authorities that most complaints arise through bad systems and poor communications.

The councils with large populations attracted most of the complaints, with Glasgow City Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council and North Lanarkshire Council accounting for 35 per cent of the total.

Mr Marks was particularly concerned about councils which enforced rules against others but then broke the same rules themselves. He said: "This is another example of double standards. Local authorities are subject to normal regulations. In relation to many of their activities they enjoy no greater freedom than a private individual." He added that his work had been hampered by the failure of some councils to maintain proper records and said the simple courtesy of keeping people informed was lacking.