News from the Ombudsman - February 2024

News from the Ombudsman - February 2024


Welcome to the latest edition of News from the Ombudsman.

In this edition you can read about:

  • Our new Ombudsman, Amerdeep Somal
  • Our new Complaint Handling Code for local authorities

We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter. If you'd like to hear more about the work we do, why not follow us on or LinkedIn?

New Ombudsman starts

Amerdeep Somal

Amerdeep Somal joined us this month, becoming England’s new Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

She was appointed through a public recruitment process led by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in 2023. She is also the Board Chair of the Law Society of England and Wales.

Amerdeep is a Judge of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (although not currently sitting) and has a wealth of experience having been the Financial Regulator’s Complaints Commissioner and the Chief Commissioner at the Data and Marketing Commission. She was also a former founding Commissioner of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Amerdeep said:

“I am delighted to start this hugely important role of Ombudsman, overseeing some of the most vital services provided to people across the country.

“The Ombudsman has a central role both in ensuring that individual complaints are investigated and as a key part of the wider system bringing about systemic change and improvement in local government and social care services. I look forward to working to improve public services at a time of need for so many.”


New Complaint Handling Code launched


We have launched a Complaint Handling Code which will result in better services for the public and make good practice in complaint handling clearer for local authorities. It will do this by setting out clear guidance on how to have a well-run complaint handling service for all local authorities.

Thank you to the 360 people (in addition to the hundreds of local authorities and landlords) who responded to our public consultation, in November, on a proposed single Code for us and the Housing Ombudsman.

In response to the feedback, we have decided to produce two separate, but closely aligned, Codes for complaint handling – our Code for council services outside of social housing and the Housing Ombudsman’s Code for landlords and housing authorities.

Our two Codes are based on unified principles and share many of the same approaches in key areas like response times, but they allow us to recognise the different legal powers both organisations have. This is a similar approach to the Scottish and Northern Irish Public Services Ombudsmen, who have model procedures for different services under a set of unified principles.

We are looking to work with a group of pilot councils this year who want to adopt the Code straight away. This will help us co-create accompanying good practice guidance to support remaining local councils to successfully adopt the Code.

We will start to consider the Code as part of our casework from April 2026. This gives councils two years to adopt the Code into local complaint policies and procedures. In the meantime, we continue to expect councils to deal with complaints in line with their own local policies and procedures.

View the Code