SEVERAL complaints about Bromsgrove District Council were lodged with a local government watchdog last year, figures show.

The coronavirus pandemic has intensified existing problems, "widened cracks" and contributed to the most difficult time in several years for local authorities nationally, according to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).

The body looks at complaints about councils and some other authorities, such as adult social care providers and education appeal panels.

Figures from the LGSCO show seven complaints or enquiries about Bromsgrove District Council were lodged in the year to March, though the ombudsman was closed to new complaints between March and June 2020 - down from 14 the year before.

Different data shows three cases deemed to warrant a full investigation by the LGSCO were concluded in 2020-21, with one resulting in a complaint being upheld against the council.

The reason for the complaint was not provided.

Education and children's services were the subject of the largest proportion of complaints and enquiries nationally, with more than 2,300 lodged last year.

A further 1,700 related to planning and development while more than 1,600 were about adult social care.

At the height of the first lockdown, the ombudsman was closed to new cases and halted ongoing investigations.

Pandemic-related disruption contributed to a significant drop in complaints and enquiries across England, with 11,800 received – down from 17,000 the year before.

But the proportion of all cases upheld nationally has grown and was 67 per cent in 2020-21, compared to 61 per cent in 2019-20.

Assessments and care planning were the most common areas of complaint in relation to adult social care.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said authorities and care providers had been doing all they could to keep "already severely stretched" services going throughout the pandemic.