LGO Focus report: learning lessons from complaints

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has published a special report that shares the lessons learned from the complaints it receives about planning and development.

The report highlights stories from some of the LGO’s cases, which illustrate some of the common areas where the LGO finds fault. These include:

  • checking the validity of applications
  • advertising applications
  • considering objections
  • explaining reasons for decisions
  • planning enforcement

The report has been published to help people understand more about the LGO’s role in subjecting planning decisions to independent scrutiny, and putting things right where there has been a fault.
By proposing some areas of good practice, the report offers ways that councils can increase transparency in the way they reach decisions. It also includes information that will help local councillors support people in their ward to bring a complaint to the LGO, as well as assist in their role of scrutinising council practice.

The case studies in the report include an officer’s report to the planning committee that failed to mention the impact on nearby residents of the development or the years of complaints about the site, and another in which a council carried out work without applying for planning. The majority of the complaints LGO receives about planning are from people who object to a council’s decision to grant planning permission. Last year (2013/14) the LGO investigated 1,631 complaints about planning. It also saw a 14% increase in complaints about enforcement action over the same period, although this still remained a relatively small area of all planning complaints investigated.

Date: 11/12/2014 Date of publication

Author: LGO

DCP link: This item updates DCP section 6.28

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