Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)

Will the Ombudsman take the side of the local authority/bailiff?

The Ombudsman are appointed by Her Majesty the Queen and they make their decisions independently of all government departments, councils and politicians.

Can I appeal a decision?

An LGO decision is final and cannot be appealed. However, if there is a legal flaw, the decision can be challenged in the High Court.

Do the LGO have to investigate my complaint?

No. The law (Local Government Act 1974) says there are some things the Ombudsman cannot investigate, such as where someone has used a ‘right of appeal’ or a court has made a decision.  The Ombudsman usually expects people to use any ‘independent right of appeal’ such as against the issue of a PCN either to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) who may consider parking and moving traffic offence appeals for London or to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT).

If none of these apply the Ombudsman has absolute discretion whether to investigate or not, and if there is insufficient evidence of fault or injustice the Ombudsman  will decide not to investigate.

Is a decision from the Ombudsman legally binding on the local authority?

Sadly no. The Ombudsman may only recommend how a complaint should be put right but in reality, almost all local authorities are willing to abide by the decision made by the LGO

How much compensation could I be awarded?

If the Ombudsman makes a finding of  ‘maladministration leading to ‘injustice’ the remedy will  try to put the complainant back in the position they were in had the maladministration not happened. This may include a ‘compensation’ payment.  How much compensation, depends on the circumstances of each case.  More information can be found in the Ombudsman’s published ‘Guidance on Remedies’ which can be found on their website.   

Is there a time limit for making a complaint to the Ombudsman?

Yes. Unless a very good reason is provided, the Ombudsman will not consider a complaint to them which is made more than 12 months after the event to which the complaint is about or from the date of the decision from the local authority.

How to contact the LGO:

The LGO Advice Team can be contacted on 0300 061 0614