Local Government Ombudsman received 73 complaints against Southampton City Council

Complaints against council

Complaints against council

First published in News

A total of 73 complaints were made to the Local Government Ombudsman against Southampton City Council in the past year.

The largest number of complaints in 2011/12 were about housing issues. The number of complaints rose from 68 in 2010/11 and 53 in 2009/10. The council said changes in the way they were recorded made comparisons hard to judge.

Comments (15)

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8:16am Thu 27 Sep 12

Anglokurisu says...

This does not surprise me. I have been consistantly hounded by Southampton City Council for Housing and Council Benefit I do not owe. Even after taking the council to court, and winning, they continue to ignore the ruling and are now chasing me for even more money. They are actually trying to make me pay for council tax twice! They refuse to accept the ruling and constantly lie to me about policy and why I apparently owe them money. They even lied to the judge! had to go to court twice and now have be referred again. They do not understand that they are in the wrong and continue to pursue people for money they do now owe. Southampton City Council works as a money making corporation and not a government body representing the city. They continue to fall out with the people of Southampton and fail to see what they are doing wrong.
This does not surprise me. I have been consistantly hounded by Southampton City Council for Housing and Council Benefit I do not owe. Even after taking the council to court, and winning, they continue to ignore the ruling and are now chasing me for even more money. They are actually trying to make me pay for council tax twice! They refuse to accept the ruling and constantly lie to me about policy and why I apparently owe them money. They even lied to the judge! had to go to court twice and now have be referred again. They do not understand that they are in the wrong and continue to pursue people for money they do now owe. Southampton City Council works as a money making corporation and not a government body representing the city. They continue to fall out with the people of Southampton and fail to see what they are doing wrong. Anglokurisu
  • Score: 0

8:23am Thu 27 Sep 12

Georgem says...

This does not surprise me. Any system run by human beings is prone to being less than perfect. Mistakes will be made.

My own experience? They repeatedly forget to take my council tax direct debit out, then threaten me with court action because they forgot to take the money. These things happen now and again, I doubt there's actually a policy of doing so.
This does not surprise me. Any system run by human beings is prone to being less than perfect. Mistakes will be made. My own experience? They repeatedly forget to take my council tax direct debit out, then threaten me with court action because they forgot to take the money. These things happen now and again, I doubt there's actually a policy of doing so. Georgem
  • Score: 0

8:33am Thu 27 Sep 12

Rockhopper says...

So rather than looking at reducing the complaints the Council blame 'the way in which they were recorded'
The fact is the Ombudsman has received more complaints about your services.
Maybe you should be investigating
what is going wrong in those areas rather than blaming policy.
So rather than looking at reducing the complaints the Council blame 'the way in which they were recorded' The fact is the Ombudsman has received more complaints about your services. Maybe you should be investigating what is going wrong in those areas rather than blaming policy. Rockhopper
  • Score: 0

10:00am Thu 27 Sep 12

FoysCornerBoy says...

The trend in Southampton seems to have been going in the wrong direction over the past few years and I wonder whether this is a reflection of local or national patterns. I note that complaints about the NHS (including GPs) are also on the increase and this is either because the system is working better or that people's experiences are getting worse (or perhaps a bit of both).

It is hard not to link the increased number of complaints about public services to drastically reduced levels of government expenditure.

By the looks of it, things ain't going to get much better soon.
The trend in Southampton seems to have been going in the wrong direction over the past few years and I wonder whether this is a reflection of local or national patterns. I note that complaints about the NHS (including GPs) are also on the increase and this is either because the system is working better or that people's experiences are getting worse (or perhaps a bit of both). It is hard not to link the increased number of complaints about public services to drastically reduced levels of government expenditure. By the looks of it, things ain't going to get much better soon. FoysCornerBoy
  • Score: 0

10:11am Thu 27 Sep 12

Georgem says...

FoysCornerBoy wrote:
The trend in Southampton seems to have been going in the wrong direction over the past few years and I wonder whether this is a reflection of local or national patterns. I note that complaints about the NHS (including GPs) are also on the increase and this is either because the system is working better or that people's experiences are getting worse (or perhaps a bit of both).

It is hard not to link the increased number of complaints about public services to drastically reduced levels of government expenditure.

By the looks of it, things ain't going to get much better soon.
There's a third possible reason why complaints are rising: people are simply getting more accustomed to the idea of making complaints. It's not really been part of British culture for a long time, to actually make complaints. Mutter complaints to ourselves, perhaps, but not to actually complain to service providers. I think we're waking up to the fact that we can take an active role in improving things, by complaining.
[quote][p][bold]FoysCornerBoy[/bold] wrote: The trend in Southampton seems to have been going in the wrong direction over the past few years and I wonder whether this is a reflection of local or national patterns. I note that complaints about the NHS (including GPs) are also on the increase and this is either because the system is working better or that people's experiences are getting worse (or perhaps a bit of both). It is hard not to link the increased number of complaints about public services to drastically reduced levels of government expenditure. By the looks of it, things ain't going to get much better soon.[/p][/quote]There's a third possible reason why complaints are rising: people are simply getting more accustomed to the idea of making complaints. It's not really been part of British culture for a long time, to actually make complaints. Mutter complaints to ourselves, perhaps, but not to actually complain to service providers. I think we're waking up to the fact that we can take an active role in improving things, by complaining. Georgem
  • Score: 0

10:22am Thu 27 Sep 12

On the inside says...

The number is irrelevant. It could be 100,000 I would not care (apart from the cost of investigating them) the only real issue is how many were upheld by the Ombudsman.
The number is irrelevant. It could be 100,000 I would not care (apart from the cost of investigating them) the only real issue is how many were upheld by the Ombudsman. On the inside
  • Score: 0

10:43am Thu 27 Sep 12

sotonboy84 says...

Anglokurisu wrote:
This does not surprise me. I have been consistantly hounded by Southampton City Council for Housing and Council Benefit I do not owe. Even after taking the council to court, and winning, they continue to ignore the ruling and are now chasing me for even more money. They are actually trying to make me pay for council tax twice! They refuse to accept the ruling and constantly lie to me about policy and why I apparently owe them money. They even lied to the judge! had to go to court twice and now have be referred again. They do not understand that they are in the wrong and continue to pursue people for money they do now owe. Southampton City Council works as a money making corporation and not a government body representing the city. They continue to fall out with the people of Southampton and fail to see what they are doing wrong.
I've had a similar experience. I got chased for council tax I did not owe as I moved from one property to another and although I informed the council of the move, they had not updated their records to show I had left the address and just said "tough, you can be liable for CT at more than one address". As I didn't want to be in any debt, and after much arguing I reluctantly set up a monthly payment plan but after the first two payments they wrote to me as they owed me money!! Although I didn't raise a complaint, I can understand why some people do. Their administration is appallingly bad and they don't even have the courtesy to apologise when mistakes are made. A similar thing happened to a friend of mine who insisted she didn't owe any CT and had the embarrassment of debt collectors turning up at her house and her work insisting her employer deducted money from her salary. It was no surprise when it turned out they actually owed her money!!
[quote][p][bold]Anglokurisu[/bold] wrote: This does not surprise me. I have been consistantly hounded by Southampton City Council for Housing and Council Benefit I do not owe. Even after taking the council to court, and winning, they continue to ignore the ruling and are now chasing me for even more money. They are actually trying to make me pay for council tax twice! They refuse to accept the ruling and constantly lie to me about policy and why I apparently owe them money. They even lied to the judge! had to go to court twice and now have be referred again. They do not understand that they are in the wrong and continue to pursue people for money they do now owe. Southampton City Council works as a money making corporation and not a government body representing the city. They continue to fall out with the people of Southampton and fail to see what they are doing wrong.[/p][/quote]I've had a similar experience. I got chased for council tax I did not owe as I moved from one property to another and although I informed the council of the move, they had not updated their records to show I had left the address and just said "tough, you can be liable for CT at more than one address". As I didn't want to be in any debt, and after much arguing I reluctantly set up a monthly payment plan but after the first two payments they wrote to me as they owed me money!! Although I didn't raise a complaint, I can understand why some people do. Their administration is appallingly bad and they don't even have the courtesy to apologise when mistakes are made. A similar thing happened to a friend of mine who insisted she didn't owe any CT and had the embarrassment of debt collectors turning up at her house and her work insisting her employer deducted money from her salary. It was no surprise when it turned out they actually owed her money!! sotonboy84
  • Score: 0

10:54am Thu 27 Sep 12

cliffwalker says...

It sounds like the council is doing pretty well if it only had 73 complaints from a population of nearly a quarter of a million. I guess there are a lot of private businesses that would be publicising and boasting if they had such a small proportion of disatisfied customers.
It sounds like the council is doing pretty well if it only had 73 complaints from a population of nearly a quarter of a million. I guess there are a lot of private businesses that would be publicising and boasting if they had such a small proportion of disatisfied customers. cliffwalker
  • Score: 0

11:04am Thu 27 Sep 12

sotonboy84 says...

cliffwalker wrote:
It sounds like the council is doing pretty well if it only had 73 complaints from a population of nearly a quarter of a million. I guess there are a lot of private businesses that would be publicising and boasting if they had such a small proportion of disatisfied customers.
This is not the number of complaints the entire council received, this is only the number of complaints which were escalated to the Government Ombudsman once the council failed to give a satisfactory outcome.
[quote][p][bold]cliffwalker[/bold] wrote: It sounds like the council is doing pretty well if it only had 73 complaints from a population of nearly a quarter of a million. I guess there are a lot of private businesses that would be publicising and boasting if they had such a small proportion of disatisfied customers.[/p][/quote]This is not the number of complaints the entire council received, this is only the number of complaints which were escalated to the Government Ombudsman once the council failed to give a satisfactory outcome. sotonboy84
  • Score: 0

11:31am Thu 27 Sep 12

Linesman says...

The number of complaints have increased over the two years because the grant from Central Government has been either reduced, or has remained the same, while the cost of running Local councils has increased with the cost of living.

To deal with this, Councils have cut their staff, which means that less people are required to cover more work, which results in mistakes being made.
The number of complaints have increased over the two years because the grant from Central Government has been either reduced, or has remained the same, while the cost of running Local councils has increased with the cost of living. To deal with this, Councils have cut their staff, which means that less people are required to cover more work, which results in mistakes being made. Linesman
  • Score: 0

11:41am Thu 27 Sep 12

Maine Lobster says...

On the inside wrote:
The number is irrelevant. It could be 100,000 I would not care (apart from the cost of investigating them) the only real issue is how many were upheld by the Ombudsman.
Absolutely spot on. I expect there are many complaints that are made on extremely dubious grounds or with malicious intent.
[quote][p][bold]On the inside[/bold] wrote: The number is irrelevant. It could be 100,000 I would not care (apart from the cost of investigating them) the only real issue is how many were upheld by the Ombudsman.[/p][/quote]Absolutely spot on. I expect there are many complaints that are made on extremely dubious grounds or with malicious intent. Maine Lobster
  • Score: 0

11:55am Thu 27 Sep 12

sotonboy84 says...

Maine Lobster wrote:
On the inside wrote: The number is irrelevant. It could be 100,000 I would not care (apart from the cost of investigating them) the only real issue is how many were upheld by the Ombudsman.
Absolutely spot on. I expect there are many complaints that are made on extremely dubious grounds or with malicious intent.
Exactly. The figures mean nothing unless you know how many were upheld by the Ombudsman. They could have all been very poor complaints raised determined angry customers that were not upheld or they could have been very valid complaints that were upheld. Although from my own experience I tend to think the latter is more likely…
[quote][p][bold]Maine Lobster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]On the inside[/bold] wrote: The number is irrelevant. It could be 100,000 I would not care (apart from the cost of investigating them) the only real issue is how many were upheld by the Ombudsman.[/p][/quote]Absolutely spot on. I expect there are many complaints that are made on extremely dubious grounds or with malicious intent.[/p][/quote]Exactly. The figures mean nothing unless you know how many were upheld by the Ombudsman. They could have all been very poor complaints raised determined angry customers that were not upheld or they could have been very valid complaints that were upheld. Although from my own experience I tend to think the latter is more likely… sotonboy84
  • Score: 0

12:01pm Thu 27 Sep 12

lisa whitemore says...

Anglokurisu wrote:
This does not surprise me. I have been consistantly hounded by Southampton City Council for Housing and Council Benefit I do not owe. Even after taking the council to court, and winning, they continue to ignore the ruling and are now chasing me for even more money. They are actually trying to make me pay for council tax twice! They refuse to accept the ruling and constantly lie to me about policy and why I apparently owe them money. They even lied to the judge! had to go to court twice and now have be referred again. They do not understand that they are in the wrong and continue to pursue people for money they do now owe. Southampton City Council works as a money making corporation and not a government body representing the city. They continue to fall out with the people of Southampton and fail to see what they are doing wrong.
Quite agree, 'the people of southampton' dont actually mean anything to Southampton City Council' its all about figures and costs.Unfortunately It all comes down to money!
[quote][p][bold]Anglokurisu[/bold] wrote: This does not surprise me. I have been consistantly hounded by Southampton City Council for Housing and Council Benefit I do not owe. Even after taking the council to court, and winning, they continue to ignore the ruling and are now chasing me for even more money. They are actually trying to make me pay for council tax twice! They refuse to accept the ruling and constantly lie to me about policy and why I apparently owe them money. They even lied to the judge! had to go to court twice and now have be referred again. They do not understand that they are in the wrong and continue to pursue people for money they do now owe. Southampton City Council works as a money making corporation and not a government body representing the city. They continue to fall out with the people of Southampton and fail to see what they are doing wrong.[/p][/quote]Quite agree, 'the people of southampton' dont actually mean anything to Southampton City Council' its all about figures and costs.Unfortunately It all comes down to money! lisa whitemore
  • Score: 0

1:30pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Shoong says...

Maine Lobster wrote:
On the inside wrote:
The number is irrelevant. It could be 100,000 I would not care (apart from the cost of investigating them) the only real issue is how many were upheld by the Ombudsman.
Absolutely spot on. I expect there are many complaints that are made on extremely dubious grounds or with malicious intent.
Was that also the case when the Conservatives were in office?
Or did it all change on that day in May when they were probably all genuine complaints?
[quote][p][bold]Maine Lobster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]On the inside[/bold] wrote: The number is irrelevant. It could be 100,000 I would not care (apart from the cost of investigating them) the only real issue is how many were upheld by the Ombudsman.[/p][/quote]Absolutely spot on. I expect there are many complaints that are made on extremely dubious grounds or with malicious intent.[/p][/quote]Was that also the case when the Conservatives were in office? Or did it all change on that day in May when they were probably all genuine complaints? Shoong
  • Score: 0

4:29pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Huffter says...

Surely this should read "A total of 73 complaints WAS made" not " A total of 73 complaints WERE made"?
Surely this should read "A total of 73 complaints WAS made" not " A total of 73 complaints WERE made"? Huffter
  • Score: 0

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