THREE councils have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds between them in compensation by a Whitehall watchdog.

The local government and social care ombudsman Michael King made the orders against Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire County and Hyndburn Councils.

They are revealed in his 2020/21 annual report which also finds maladministration by town hall officials from Rossendale and Burnley boroughs.

It reveals Blackburn with Darwen Council received 27 complaints between April 1 last year and March 31 this year while he decided on 29 cases in the same period.

He upheld the concerns of residents in four instances - the same as in 2019/2020 when it paid out £20,488 in compensation. In one case, where a son complained about it overcharging his mother for a residential care home placement, Mr King ordered a repayment of £6,464.97.

Mr King also ordered Blackburn with Darwen Council to pay £300 to a resident for failing to properly investigate parking problems near his house and £300 to a father for delays in processing a Disabled Facilities Grant to make the family home suitable for his 13-year-old son. The authority also had to apologise to a woman for misinforming her about registering her father’s death.

Lancashire County Council sparked 124 complaints to Mr King in 2020/21, mainly about adult social care, education and children’s services.

He upheld 22 and ordered the authority to make several compensation payments of between £100 and £500 to residents. The largest single award of £1,500 was made to two brothers for the county council’s failure to find a suitable care placement for the disabled sibling and the distress it caused both of them. County Hall officials also promised to prioritise finding a placement.

Hyndburn Council had one complaint upheld and was ordered to pay £150 to a resident for failures in handling his complaint about dog fouling in his neighbour’s yard. Burnley Council had two complaints upheld against in 2020/21 - one about abandoned vehicles and one about anti-social behaviour - and was ordered to apologise to aggrieved residents.

Mr King upheld two cases against Rossendale Council, both about waste collection. Mr King said: “While the way local authorities dealt with the pressures of Covid-19 is still being played out, early indications suggest it is only widening the cracks that were already there.”

Hyndburn Council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson said: “The complaint has gone through the due process and the council has apologised and rectified its mistakes.”

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: “We work hard to deliver the best services we can to everyone in Lancashire, however recognise that we don’t get it right all of the time.”

David Fairclough, governance director at BwD Council said: “As a council we always take any complaints very seriously and endeavour to investigate any complaint fully and promptly.”

Ribble Valley and Pendle Council had no adverse findings in 2020/21.