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SCOTS OMBUDSMAN PREDICTS REVIEW PROBLEMS DESPITE FALL IN COMPLAINTS

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Customer satisfaction with local authorities in Scotland has improved slightly, but reorganisation could bring new ...
Customer satisfaction with local authorities in Scotland has improved slightly, but reorganisation could bring new problems, the latest Scottish ombudsman report says.

The 1993-94 annual report was prepared by former ombudsman Robert Peggie - now chairman of the Scottish Staff Commission - and launched this week by the new ombudsman Derrick Marks.

The ombudsman will have a greater role in protecting the public during the transition to unitary authorities, Mr Marks said. 'Problems will arise while the new authorities put their houses in order, but their first priority must be to ensure that those in receipt of services do not suffer.'

The report shows a small drop in complaints, from 1,069 to 1,008. Housing complaints are down from 445 to 336. The drop in repairs-related complaints indicates councils are responding more efficiently to tenants, it says.

The ombudsman highlights problems facing house buyers when developers go bankrupt.

Developers building new estates must lodge a roads bond with the council. But some buyers have ended up paying for the roads themselves because the developer was declared bankrupt before lodging the bond.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the ombudsman will press the government to strengthen roads authorities' powers to prevent this happening.

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