Complaining about the council is probably something all of us have done from time to time.

Usually, these complaints are just passing thoughts, or can be handled quite quickly by council staff once raised.

But sometimes a complaint can go far enough that it requires outside adjudication.

People can complain about the decisions of the council to the Local Government Ombudsman, which can adjudicate disputes and in some cases recommend councils make hefty pay outs to an aggrieved party.

READ MORE: Mum raises issues in Bracknell council's childcare department after £250 pay out

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman specifically looks into cases about adult social care and education.

There were five times when Bracknell Forest Council was found at fault by the LGSO in the 2020/21 financial year, with it paying out £9,050 to people who have complained.

In the first, the council was able to resolve an issue after it decided not to provide school transport to a boy with special educational needs. The council admitted that it had failed to explain its school transport to the mum who complained, and agreed to pay £500 to cover transport costs to the boy’s school.

In the second case, the council failed to provide a boy, who had special educational needs, alternative education when he was off sick from school due to anxiety attacks. It also failed to put in place special needs support in the boys Education and Health Care (EHC) Plan.

Following the ombudsman investigation, Bracknell Forest Council agreed to  pay £4,700 to the boy’s mum. £4,200 of this went to his education, and £500 was paid in compensation.

READ MORE: Compensation as Bracknell boy suffers drastic decline in learning hours

In the third instance, a man with a hidden disability complained after he was denied a disabled blue badge, with the council agreeing to pay £150 to the man for the distress caused.

Also. a Bracknell mum received a pay out of £4,200 after her son lost out on six months of education.

Of that amount, £3,300 went into paying for the boy’s education, £700 in compensation to recognise the injustice in delaying the boy’s EHC plan, and a further £200 in compensation in recognition of the time and trouble it had taken the mum to pursue her complaint.

The council was also found at fault in a fifth instance, but the results of this complaint was not published by the LGSO.

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Recently, Bracknell Forest Council’s executive committee received a report on the LGSO complaints received between April 2020 to March 2021.

Of the eight detailed investigations into complaints undertaken, five were upheld and three were not upheld. A further seven complaint investigations were closed after initial enquiries.

The report on the LGSO complaints was received unanimously by the executive committee on Tuesday, October 19.

You can view results from the meeting in this Twitter thread here: 

Members of the executive committee and council chiefs welcomed the report.

Timothy Wheadon, the chief executive of the council, said: “Of the literally millions of interactions we have throughout the year, the ombudsman has only fault on five occasions.

“Overall the picture is positive. There were two where there were issues that we need to take on board, particularly around education of children out of school, and we have undertaken a detailed review.

Councillor Paul Bettison, the leader of the council (Little Sandhurst and Wellington), added: “It is a very enviable record only to have five judgements against us, when there are so many contacts with the public, but we take note of those five and hope to improve.”