Sunday, September 17, 2006

New dilemma for BIOA and LGO

British and Irish Ombudsman’s Association (BIOA) members felt that they should publish a general statement on good complaint-handling principles and service standards which publicly represent their collegiate position.

To achieve this the Executive Committee agreed to establish a working group with the aim of identifying and drawing up a statement which can be used as a measure of quality assurance by current and potential BIOA members and other complaint-handling schemes and individuals, as well as those interested in the provision of such services. This information was published in the August issue of 'The Ombudsman' (The Newsletter of the BIOA).

The LGO are founder members of the BIOA yet the they have introduced the most perverse complaints handling principles and service standards that one could imagine. In addition they have an internal complaints procedure that wouldn’t be out of place in a third world dictatorship.

One of the members of the working group is going to be Jerry White, Local Government Ombudsman Coventry Office. I wonder how the LGO are going to get out of this one? Will Jerry White try and change the BIOA statement to minimise the problem with their own procedures or will the LGO change their procedures to meet the BIOA collegiate position?

A clue to what may happen can be found in an earlier posting about LGO accountability.

How did the LGO and the BIOA handle that problem. Did they ask the LGO to resign as members of the BIOA because they didn’t meet the membership criteria or did the BIOA change their entry criteria to allow the unaccountable LGO to remain members?

They did neither, they just removed the entry criteria from their web-site so it became more difficult for people to realise that their founder member did not in fact meet their membership criteria. No doubt one of the perks of being the founder member of the BIOA.

Unfortunately for the BIOA they have now given the LGO and themselves a another dilemma. The BIOA now stipulate that members should abide by the laws of natural justice but as everyone knows the LGO don’t.

So we now have the extraordinary situation that a founder member of the BIOA doesn’t meet at least two of the criteria necessary for membership of the very association they introduced; Accountability and Natural Justice. On top of that the BIOA are just about to issue a statement on good complaint handling procedures, procedures that the LGO has demonstrably failed to introduce themselves over the last 32 years.

You just couldn’t make this sort of stuff up but laughable as it may be it also clearly demonstrates the lack of integrity present within both organisations

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