National Ombudsmen
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Coronavirus update

Coronavirus – Information for our customers

Over the last few weeks we have been assessing the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on our ability to continue to deliver our services, while at the same time protecting our colleagues.

We have taken steps to minimise the impact on you and have been able to operate as normal, keeping our offices open, receiving post, answering calls and responding to emails and online complaint submissions. We have been reviewing the developments and Government announcements on a daily basis and have closely followed the advice issue by Public Health England. The daily Government briefings now reflect the rapidly changing situation and advice for businesses, and we are acting on that.

The vast majority of our staff are set up to, and regularly do, work from home, flexibly, and we have the IT and telecommunications systems and support to make this as seamless as possible. We are encouraging our staff to put their health and wellbeing, and that of their families, first to help prevent the spread of disease by now working from home if they can. By doing this, we will endeavour to continue to deliver an efficient service that enables you to continue to communicate with your investigator or other point of contact by email and direct dial telephone if you have a live complaint investigation with us.

However, there will now be some interruption to those making contact with us for the first time, or those calling our central contact number. We are temporarily suspending our central telephone line (0300 061 0614), and the complaint submission form on our website, effective from Wednesday 18 March. We hope this service can be reinstated as soon as possible and will update our website regularly to keep you informed.

This means, during this time, we are not able to take new complaints, either online or by telephone. If you have already registered a complaint with us, we may continue to work on it and email and telephone extensions of individual staff may be available. But please be aware our ability to progress cases may be limited.

We have decided to cancel external training courses we were delivering between now and the end of April, and will review what action we will take for May and beyond, over the coming weeks.

We recognise the rapidly evolving situation is causing uncertainty and we appreciate your support and understanding at this challenging time as we endeavour to maintain services while protecting our staff and customers.  

We will update our website as the situation develops.  We will also issue twitter updates to keep you updated.

Additional information for organisations 

We appreciate local authorities and care providers will be taking similar actions and this may affect your ability to continue to deliver services to the standards you normally would, including complaints handling and providing LGSCO with information within the required timescales. Where, because of COVID-19 contingency actions, an organisation is unable to provide information to LGSCO within the required timescale, please contact your investigator or usual point of contact directly to discuss an extension.

 

Original article link: https://www.lgo.org.uk/information-centre/news/2020/mar/coronavirus-news-update

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