Ombudsman suspends complaints enquiries amid Covid-19 outbreak

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has suspended all casework activity that demands action by local authorities and care providers in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The ombudsman has taken this step to protect the capacity of councils and operators to deliver frontline services as coronavirus demands increase.

This move means the Ombudsman will not be asking local authorities or care providers to answer enquiries on new or existing cases for the time being, and cases still in progress will be frozen, until normal operations can resume.

When normal services resume, the Ombudsman will take into account any delays when considering whether or not complaints have been brought to it within the normal 12-month time period specified in the service’s legislation.

‘We need to do all we can to support the vital work local authorities and care providers are doing for the communities they serve in co-ordinating the response to the Covid-19 threat,’ said Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. ‘By temporarily suspending our enquiries until government advice changes, we will allow care homes and councils the breathing space they need to deliver those frontline activities without distraction.’

King added that local authorities and care providers are still expected to respond appropriately to any complaints they receive during this time, but it is understood that this may look different to their normal arrangements.

‘We will be picking this up with them once we are told normal service can resume,’ said King.