The Local Government Ombudsman was established in 1974 and currently (2018) has 170 staff based in three offices, headquartered in Coventry.
The Ombudsman aims to remedy injustice arising from the actions (or omissions) of local government and to help to improve services and to support accountability of local government to those it serves.
The Local Government Ombudsman has a role in dealing with special educational needs, particularly where there is maladministration by a local education authority. This can commonly arise in a number of contexts: chronic delay, leading to missed provision, poor transition planning from statements to EHC Plans, poor key phase transfers, inadequate evidence gathering, poor administration of meetings and plans and a failure to communicate.
The Ombudsman’s website with the decisions that he makes can be found here: LGO.org.uk/decisions.
The role of the Ombudsman may become more important not least due to increasing pressure on children’s services: the Ombudsman is concerned to look at administration through the lens of law guidance and rights, rather than budgetary constraints. In addition the transition from statements to EHC plans can be expected to create more maladministration, given the scope for poor quality plan making “in a hurry” that can arise.