Friday, December 01, 2006

Crossman, Crossman who?

The long and winding road away from what complainants want, what Crossman expected and what current Ombudsmen actually deliver.

When Ombudsmen were introduced Crossman, the leader of the house of commons stated

We have not tried to define injustice by using such terms as `loss or damage'. These may have legal overtones which could be held to exclude one thing which I am particularly anxious shall remain ‚– the sense of outrage aroused by unfair or incompetent administration, even where the complainant has suffered no actual loss. We intend that the outraged citizen ....shall have the right to an investigation, even where he has suffered no loss or damage in the legal sense of those terms, but is simply a good citizen who has nothing to lose and wishes to clear up a sense of outrage and indignation at what he believes to be maladministration." My emphasis.

An earlier posting of mine 'LGO raise the bar' commented on the method used in the past by Ombudsmen to dismantle the Crossman catalogue by introducing qualifying words such as significant or material when talking about injustice.

However, recent developments prove that things have taken a turn for the worse. An Assistant Ombudsman has stated that the level of injustice is now the Ombudsman's principle means of keeping the number of complaints they have to investigate to an acceptable level. That means that they just alter the level of the bar to suit themselves. If they want to investigate x percentage of complaints then they just alter the level of the bar.

Can you imagine what an Ombudsman could now tell their staff, sod maladministration, sod injustice, lets just keep increasing the level of injustice a complainant is expected suffer (as a result of maladministration) until we don't have to investigate anything.

If we're lucky they will keep on going until they fiddle themselves out of a job.

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