BLACKBURN with Darwen Council had four complaints against it upheld by a Whitehall watchdog and paid out more than £20,000.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Michael King launched seven detailed investigations into the authority’s handling of issues raised by residents in 2019/2020.

He also upheld two out of six complaints he probed against Rossendale Council for the second year running and 28 out of 44 against Lancashire County Council.

Most of the latter concerned adult social care assessments and payments or child welfare.

In 2018/2019 Mr King upheld five complaints against Blackburn with Darwen Council.

He dismissed the only complaints against Hyndburn and Pendle councils in 2019/2020 which he looked into in detail.

Mr King did not consider any issues raised that year about Burnley or Ribble Valley councils merited investigation.

He found Blackburn with Darwen Council at fault over installing traffic-calming measures near a couple’s home.

Although he found fault in the council’s actions, he ruled it did not lead to an injustice.

Mr King also upheld a complaint about its handling of a planning application to approve a housing development which included a new house very close to windows in a family’s home. The council paid the couple £8,000 in compensation.

Blackburn with Darwen Council was also found to have over-charged for a woman’s residential care. It refunded £12,488.38 for overpaid care charges and reviewed its care commissioning practices.

Mr King also upheld a complaint about its assessment and care planning system saying it failed to share its results promptly with the complainant, causing him distress. The council has reviewed its practices.

The two complaints upheld against Rossendale Council concerned the behaviour of a pest control officer and its failure to keep planning control over a development which damaged the complainant’s enjoyment of his home.

Compensation was paid of £300 in the first case and £5,000 in the second.

Mr King's rulings against Lancashire County Council reduced from 35 of 54 complaints investigated in detail in 2018/19 to 28 out of 44 in the last financial year.

David Fairclough, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s legal director, said: "As a council we take any complaints extremely seriously."

Rossendale Council leader Cllr Alyson Barnes said the council tried to put things right promptly and prevent any repeat in the future.