COMPLAINTS to the Local Ombudsman about the borough council rose by more than 400% in the last year.
And the authority paid out £2,600 in total to residents after judgements that “maladministration had taken place”.
Between April 2007-March 2008, Ombudsman Anne Seex said she received 41 complaints against the council, a “sharp contrast” to the nine received the previous year.
But she added: “Although this represents a significant rise in percentage terms, the numbers are still small.
“I draw no conclusions other than to suggest the council reflects on possible causes for this rise and the potential for this increase to be the start of a trend.”
Mrs Seex said there was no pattern to the complaints. Thirteen of them were about planning and building control – the most popular source of complaint.
In the same period, she determined 43 complaints against the authority. Of these, 25 were prematurely sent to her, three were outside her jurisdiction, she decided not to pursue four, and in eight cases found no evidence of maladministration.
She added: “The council agreed to settle three cases and I’m grateful to it for its willingness to acknowledge, where appropriate, something has gone wrong and the complainant should be offered some sort of remedy.”
There was no mention of the third case in her report.
At the council’s resources committee, chairman Cllr Joe O’Rourke (Lab, Sutton) said a lot of the complaints had been about Neston town centre redevelopment, and seven were made by one individual.