County Council forced to pay out £23,500 of taxpayers’ money for failures

Mayville High School, Portsmouth Advertisement
Mayville High School, Portsmouth Advertisement
Mayville High School, Portsmouth Advertisement
Hampshire County Council sign

Hampshire County Council has been told to pay out more than £23,500 after failures in how it supports children with special needs and flaws in the care provided for adults.

The payments were made after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman ordered it to pay financial remedies in ten cases.

Nationally last year, the ombudsman received more than 5,000 complaints which were escalated for formal investigation for the first time.

This represents a 27% increase from the previous year. Following the investigations made in 2022/23, the service made 6,590 orders and recommendations to make things right for residents. This included ordering or recommending £1.1 million in compensation.

Hampshire County Council has published a report stating that from April 2023 to March 2024, the ombudsman made 20 decisions concerning the authority.

In 16 cases, it found there had been fault causing injustice. In three cases, the ombudsman determined that there had been no fault/injustice. In one case, the ombudsman invited the county council to remedy a complaint without investigation.

The report said the number of complaints that the ombudsman investigates has remained at a “consistent” level over the last two years, with the same number of determinations.

However, in 2022/23, they found the county council had been at fault on 19 occasions and not at fault on one.

Regarding financial compensations, the figures showed that for 2022/23, Hampshire County Council was ordered to pay £23,175 in 14 cases.

In 2023/24, it paid £23,550, with an order to pay a financial remedy in ten cases.

In 2022/23, the ombudsman received 142 complaints, of which 42 were investigated, seven were not upheld, and 35 were upheld.

In terms of complaints, David Kelly, assistant director of legal services and monitoring officer, said that “sometimes” the county council “can’t do what residents want us to do or they are not happy with the answer we are given, but we have actually met our statutory responsibilities on what we have to do.”

He added: “I suppose we are probably going to find, as we move towards minimum legally required services, more residents that would be in that kind of situation. But we deal with all the complaints in good faith and try to respond as quickly as we can.”

Mayville High School, Portsmouth Advertisement
Mayville High School, Portsmouth Advertisement
Mayville High School, Portsmouth Advertisement