Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today (11 January 2017) confirmed the appointment of Michael King as the new Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).
Mr King brings with him an extensive 25-year career in a range of consumer and public protection roles.
The Ombudsman is responsible for resolving complaints between members of the public and councils about the services they run. Mr King’s appointment to the role was endorsed by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee following a hearing in Parliament on 1 November 2016.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:
Michael King brings with him a wealth of experience to his new role as Local Government Ombudsman. This will be invaluable in making sure councils and care providers are held to account.
The Ombudsman plays an important role in investigating complaints and resolving problems in a fair and independent way. I look forward to him continuing this work.
Local Government Ombudsman Michael King said:
I know from my experience at LGO what a difference the Ombudsman service can make to people’s lives. Our independent investigations can expose serious failings and help to remedy significant injustice.
The Ombudsman can give people a voice when all other options have been exhausted and can help restore trust in public services. But I believe that it is not enough to simply fix individual problems one by one.
I want to build on the excellent work that LGO does and help councils and care providers learn from any complaints we receive, by sharing information better. That way we can ensure that they avoid repeating the same mistakes and provide the best service possible.
Protecting the public, improving services
The Local Government Ombudsman was set up by the Local Government Act 1974 to conduct investigations into complaints from members of the public who consider that they have suffered injustice as a result of maladministration.
The Ombudsmen seeks to resolve complainants and help improve services in the future. It also provides councils with guidance to deal with complaints in a transparent and fair manner.
Michael King has worked at the organisation in various roles since 2004, most recently as Chief Executive, and was previously Deputy Local Government Ombudsman.
Mr King automatically also now serves as chair of the Commission for Local Administration of England.
Before joining the Local Government Ombudsman, Michael King worked for 15 years in a range of consumer and public protection roles, including as the Chief Trading Standards Officer for Northumberland County Council. He is also an independent member of the British Hallmarking Council, and has served as a Citizen’s Advice Bureau trustee.
In 2015 to 2016 the Local Government Ombudsman resolved more than 20,000 complaints and enquiries. More than half of all investigations were upheld, and as a result the Local Government Ombudsman made 3,529 separate recommendations to put things right for individuals and improve public services for all.
Every decision on disputes is published in full on the LGO website at www.lgo.org.uk, where there is also an online form to register new complaints directly with the Ombudsman.
Michael King succeeds Dr Jane Martin, who has been the Local Government Ombudsman since 2010. He will take up the post with immediate effect.