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Complains against unjust councils soar: 'Poor communication' singled out as key problem

(First Edition)

COMPLAINTS OF injustice against local authorities rose by per cent last year, the annual report of the Local Government Ombudsmen in England, who investigate allegations of maladministration, says. In half of the cases the key problem was poor communication, sometimes deliberate, between local authorities and their clients.

All three ombudsmen praised councils for their generally fast reaction to reports. There were 30 cases in which councils did not take action on the initial ombudsman report. Of those, the ombudsman is still awaiting satisfaction in 11. The worst offender is the London borough of Tower Hamlets, which three times failed to comply with recommendations.

Taxpayers should be paid compensation when the Inland Revenue has erred and caused prolonged distress, Elizabeth Filkin, the first Revenue Adjudicator, said yesterday.