What we can and cannot look at

What can I complain about?

We look at complaints about most council services. These include:

As Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, we also look at all adult social care complaints. This includes care paid for privately with no council involvement.

If a complaint is about both health and social care services, our Joint Working Team can carry out a joint investigation with the Health Service Ombudsman with a single contact point for you.

See complaint subjects for more about the common types of complaint we receive and where we can investigate.

We also deal with complaints about some other organisations.

 

What we cannot investigate

The law does not allow us to investigate some issues. We usually cannot look at a complaint if:

  • you have left it more than 12 months since knowing about the problem
  • you are not personally affected – for example the issue affects most people in the area
  • you have not been caused an injustice
  • you have the right of appeal or can take legal action and we think it is reasonable for you to do so. This might be to:
    • a tribunal (such as the Housing Benefit Appeals Service)
    • a government minister (such as a planning appeal)
    • the courts
  • it is about personnel matters (such as your employment or disciplinary issues)

We are not an appeals body or regulator for councils and care providers. We cannot insist that disciplinary action takes place.

 

What are the common things that go wrong?

This doesn't include everything, but some common examples of service failure are:

  • Delay
  • Poor record keeping
  • Failure to take action
  • Failure to follow procedures or the law
  • Poor communication
  • Giving out misleading information
  • Failure to investigate
  • The organisation not doing what it said it would
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