Local authorities in Greater London account for nine of Britain’s ten most criticized councils, new research has revealed.
An analysis of Local Government Ombudsman and ONS data from 2016 to 2022 found that Haringey Council in North London was the local authority that had received the most complaints, with an average of 45.3 complaints per 10,000 inhabitants.
Over 70% of complaints submitted to Haringey Council have been upheld, suggesting residents’ grievances are not being ignored.
Torbay Council in Devon is the only local authority outside Greater London to be ranked in the top 10 most complained councils, taking tenth place with 31.7 complaints per 10,000 population.
Education and child care is the highest complaints category in the UK, racking up 21,203 complaints from 2016 to 2022, 23% more than adult social services with 16,232 complaints and 37% more than housing (13,370).
In Greater London however, housing appears to be the predominant issue.
London councils have received a total of 6,423 housing complaints since 2016, almost half (48%) of all housing complaints received in England.
It comes as UK households face an average council tax rise of £67 for Band D properties this year amid the cost of living squeeze, while 95% of councils are still expected to raise their council tax by another 5% after Chancellor Jeremy. Hunt removed the restrictions in the fall budget.
An analysis of ONS council complaints data from 2016 to 2022 found that Haringey council in north London was the local authority that had received the most complaints, with an average of 45.3 complaints per 10,000 people (Crouch End, Haringey, photo)
Britain complains the most about councils
1) Haringey, London
45.3 complaints per 10,000 people
2) Lambeth, London
44.7 complaints per 10,000 inhabitants
3) Newham, London
40.1 complaints per 10,000 people
4) Barking and Dagenham, London
39.6 complaints per 10,000 people
5) Ealing, London
37 complaints per 10,000 inhabitants
6) Waltham Forest, London
36.8 complaints per 10,000 people
7) Croydon, London
36.6 complaints per 10,000 people
8=) Hounslow, London
32.2 complaints per 10,000 people
8=) Southwark, London
32.2 complaints per 10,000 people
10) Torbay, Devon
31.7 complaints per 10,000 people
Lambeth Council closely follows Haringey as the most criticized local authority, with 44.7 complaints per 10,000 population.
South London Council was fined £6,425 by the Housing Ombudsman in 2022 for negligence in dealing with housing issues.
Greater London’s Newham Council is the third most complained about with 40.1 complaints per 10,000 people.
George Patton, a spokesman for Claims.co.uk who conducted the study, said the council’s complaints rate had increased significantly in 2022.
‘While it is commendable that councils are struggling to provide crucial services while juggling the current cost of living crisis, complaints against councils have soared by a quarter on last year’ , he said, adding that housing problems are the biggest grievance for residents living in Greater London.
“Housing is a huge issue across the country, with London councils having made a total of 6,423 housing complaints since 2016 – almost half of all housing complaints received in England.
“A huge public housing deficit has put more than 250,000 Londoners on the public housing waiting list, making the capital the epicenter of the housing crisis.
“Underfunding is once again brought to the fore, with central government being called upon to financially support local authorities to deal with the growing crisis.”
Patton added that education and childcare were the most criticized sectors across the country outside of London.
“It is disconcerting to see that the services provided to the backbone of our nation are most inadequate, with over 21,000 complaints lodged with the council regarding education and childcare since 2016,” a- he declared.
“Being the highest category of complaints in 29 of the 51 counties surveyed, the sector is clearly in need of reform.”
Housing tax explained
How your council tax bracket is calculated
There are eight council tax brackets, each with a different council tax rate.
They are based on the value of the property you live in, as assigned by the Valuation Office Agency, which is part of HMRC.
They are calculated based on the price at which a house could have been sold in April 1991.
Even though the property was recently built, its strip is based on an estimate of what it would have been worth in 1991.
In England, brackets range from A to H, with A being the cheapest and H the most expensive.
How to know your council tax bracket
The government has a website where you can check your municipal tax bracket.
You can do this by clicking here.
It also allows you to challenge your tax bracket if you think your home is in the wrong bracket.
At the other end of the scale, Kingston upon Hull in East Yorkshire is the least complained council in England with an exceptional average of just 2.6 complaints per 10,000 population between August 2016 and August 2022.
Two Northamptonshire local authorities feature in the top 10 least complained councils, with Northampton Borough and South Northamptonshire coming in second and fifth with 2.8 and 4.9 complaints for 10,000 respectively.
Bradford, named Britain’s City of Culture 2025, came third with just 4.6 complaints, closely followed by Cheltenham Council in Gloucestershire with 4.8 complaints per 10,000 population.
But those numbers are unlikely to stay that low if local authorities continue to raise their council tax by 5% after Jeremy Hunt scrapped restrictions in the autumn budget.
The chancellor announced in November that he would end a decade-long cap on council tax increases to allow town halls to impose increases above 3% without holding a referendum.
Some 95% of local authorities in England are expected to take advantage of the new powers, tipping average bills by more than £2,000.
The 5% increase would raise the average council tax paid for a Band D home by £98.30, taking it from £1,966 to £2,064.30.
The Treasury watchdog has estimated that bills will now rise by the same amount in each of the next five years.
By 2027-28, the annual increase will yield an additional £4.8bn a year over the previous cap of a 3% increase.
In light of concerns over rising council tax and the extremely high complaint rate from many councils, particularly in London, Patton offered advice to residents on how to lodge complaints with local authorities.
“While taking charge of your council can seem daunting, it is essential to know your right as a resident and to speak up if you feel your council has failed to provide service.
“Your first step should always be to contact the service provider in question. And if you are not satisfied with the solution provided, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) will act as a last resort. Be sure not to delay and file your claims as soon as possible.
“Remain polite throughout the process and provide clear evidence to support your claim as the LGO’s decision is final – your case will not be reconsidered unless new evidence comes to light.”