Lancashire must fix complaint flaws

The local government ombudsman has found flaws
in Lancashire Council’s complaints handling system. The flaws were
uncovered following an investigation into a birth mother’s
complaint about delays in making arrangements to enable her and the
adoptive parents to exchange information about the child.

The ombudsman made a finding of
maladministration against the council, though she found that this
did not cause injustice to the complainant. Despite conflicting
accounts and the absence of written records, the ombudsman found
that the delays in service provision were not the council’s

The ombudsman hoped “lessons may be learned”
from the flaws uncovered by the investigation, including absence of
proper record-keeping and lack of clarity over who should have been
dealing with the birth mother’s requests about the information

“I hope that the council will take account of
and learn from [the administrative shortcomings],” said ombudsman
Patricia Thomas. “In particular I would encourage the council to
seek training for its staff in complaints investigation.”

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