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Tower Hamlets pays out £3.5k over complaints - less than other boroughs

PUBLISHED: 14:04 14 July 2011

The Ombudsman's annual review has been published

The Ombudsman's annual review has been published

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Tower Hamlets Council paid £3,500 in compensation to residents last year over a series of complaints – significantly less than neighbouring boroughs.

A total of 119 grievances were taken to the Local Government Ombudsman from 2010/11, with housing issues accounted for almost half of the complaints in the borough.

But Tower Hamlets fared well compared to neighbouring Hackney and Newham, which have similar populations.

Hackney Council was forced to fork out £15,000 in compensation, as was Haringey, while Newham had to pay £2,000 in one case alone.

The biggest pay-out in Tower Hamlets was £1,800 which was awarded to a woman with a learning disability.

There were found to have been gaps in the care provided to the woman, who did not speak English.

In another case, the council was found to have wrongly taken a child off the school roll after she had been absent for a prolonged period due to a member of her family falling ill.

The issue only came to light when her father applied for a new school place for her but it ended up taking several weeks before a suitable place was found.

In another case regarding parking, the council was warned about the wording on letters sent out for Penalty Charge Notices.

The Ombudsman found it did not make clear that motorists should not pay fines if they want to appeal against them.

It has since changed the wording on documents.

The average response time for complaints was 19 days, which is within the 28 day target and an improvement on last year.

A body independent of government and councils, the LGO has the same powers as the High Court to obtain information and documents.

Its complaints procedure is free.

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