Sarah Duxbury (Assistant Director – Governance and Policy) introduced the Report which presented a summary of the outcomes of Ombudsman, Information Commissioner and Judicial Review claims for the 2019/20 period. She advised that the results for 2019/20 constituted an improvement on the levels of the previous year, with seven adverse decisions recorded compared to 16 in 2018/19.
Sarah Duxbury emphasised that, given the case-specific nature of individual claims, it was difficult to pinpoint the reasons for the reduction. However, she recognised the effort and commitment demonstrated by Kushal Birla and her team in providing quality advice and expertise with a focus on resolving complaints at the earliest opportunity. She added that Legal Services and Customer Services had enacted measures to promote an awareness across the organisation of national good practice, and lessons learned locally, which had contributed to a responsible approach to managing complaints.
Sarah Duxbury stated that, as an outcome of coronavirus, the Ombudsman had paused activity but had recently indicated that new cases would be accepted from the end of June 2020. She advised that Warwickshire County Council was among the authorities to have signalled to the Ombudsman that they would welcome a phased reintroduction of services to avoid a potential surge in the volume of cases which could present challenges. She indicated that it was expected that an increase in cases would be seen in the short-term prior to a return to ordinary levels in the longer-term.
The Chair expressed his thanks for the report and the improved performance levels.
That the Committee notes the Report.