WATCHDOGS have given Wirral Council top marks in their annual review.

Figures published by the Local Government Ombudsman show Wirral is the fastest Merseyside council in responding to complaints.

In her annual letter to the council, Ombudsman Anne Seex said: “I am pleased to say that I have no concerns about your authority’s response times and there are no issues arising from the complaints that I want to bring to your attention.”

The Ombudsman found no evidence of maladministration or injustice during an entire three-year period, from 2009 to date.

Compared to the number of complaints considered under the council’s corporate or statutory procedures for the same period, only 2% were escalated for review by the Ombudsman’s investigative team.

Councillor Ann McLachlan, cabinet member for improvement and governance said: “I am pleased that we have continued to improve our response times and hope that our efforts to make even more information publicly available will have a positive effect on all types of enquiries made to the council, including Freedom of Information requests.

“Our focus for dealing with complaints is to put things right.

"Complaints and wider customer comments should not be dealt with in isolation and we will continue to use the feedback we receive to improve our services.”

For the second year running, the council has reduced the amount of time taken to respond to Ombudsman enquiries from 27 days in 2009/10 to 15 days in 2011/12.

The average response time by Merseyside councils is 27 days.