Wednesday, August 30, 2006

LGO still trying to fiddle statistics

During the 1999 Mori survey the LGO were allowed to edit the list of people that Mori wanted to question. That skewed the results in their favour.

During the more recent BMG qualitative survey the did exactly the same thing again. The following note is in the BMG report.

'‘Before writing to selected complainants the LGO cross checked the list of contacts highlighting any cases thought to be unsuitable either on the basis of sensitivity or any other significant problems which staff were aware of.'’

The results were bad enough but can you imagine how bad they would have been if they hadn'’t been allowed to doctor the list.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

1999 Mori LGO survey, Question 43

The following question was asked by Mori during their 1999 survey.

Q43. Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied were you with the final outcome of your complaint - I mean just the actual final outcome of your complaint, and not the overall way in which your complaint was dealt with by the Ombudsman?

Fairly satisfied 9
Very satisfied 13
Fairly dissatisfied 12
Very dissatisfied 61
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 3
No opinion 2

Total number of dissatisfied complainants 73%
Total number of satisfied complainants 21%

That's nearly three and a half times as many complainants were dissatisfied with the final outcome of their complaint than those who were satisfied.

Did the LGO improve their service or has it got much worse? For some unknown reason they decided against having another quantative survey, so their are no later figures to confirm the answer to that question one way or another.

I think we know the reason why they decided not to have another quantitive survey don't we!

Friday, August 25, 2006

More LGO smoke and mirrors

Another example of the LGO trying to burying the truth?

The Local Government Ombudsman state in their latest annual review

‘The average cost per complaint in 2005/06 was £640 . This was 1.9 per cent more than the cost per complaint in 2004/05 when inflation is taken into account. The main reason for this was the increased costs of pension fund and National Insurance contributions’.

1.9% of £640 is only £12.16 and doesn’t seem a lot of money. The truth is that the Local Government Ombudsman dealt with over 18,626 complaints last year and that makes it £226, 492.

Close to quarter of a million pounds just to cover the increased costs of their pensions and national insurance contributions.

The question is why didn’t the Local Government Ombudsman put it that way, did the amount shock them so much that they had to resort to devious tactics to reduce the impact?

The LGO is wasting taxpayer's money!

The truth is that it costs the taxpayer 7 times more to pay for the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate a valid complaint than a complainant receives in compensation.

Last year some 4954 complaints were categorised as premature by the Local Government Ombudsman. That’s about 27% of all complaints submitted to them.

As far as the Local Government Ombudsman is concerned the definition of a premature complaint is

‘Premature complaints are those which are not accepted for consideration by the Local Government Ombudsmen because the councils concerned have not had a reasonable opportunity to deal with them first. Premature complaints are sent to the councils concerned with a request that they should investigate them. If a complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of a council’s investigation, he or she can complain to the Ombudsman again.’ (My Emphasis)

In addition a further 2376 complaints were categorised as outside their jurisdiction. That’s about 13% of all complaints. As far as the Local Government Ombudsman is concerned the definition of a complaint outside their jurisdiction is

‘The Ombudsmen can investigate most types of complaints against local authorities. But there are some things the law does not allow them to investigate, such as personnel matters, the internal management of schools and colleges, and matters which affect all or most of the people living in a council’s area. Such complaints, when they are terminated, are described as being outside jurisdiction.’

That means some 40% of complaints were not valid complaints and should not have been submitted to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The Local Government Ombudsman states

‘The average cost per complaint in 2005/06 was £640 . This was 1.9 per cent more than the cost per complaint in 2004/05 when inflation is taken into account. The main reason for this was the increased costs of pension fund and National Insurance contributions.’ (My emphasis) Worthy of a separate posting?

The question is why do the Local Government Ombudsman include the above when they are nothing more than enquiries.

As a result the real cost of the Local Government Ombudsman is not £640 per complaint as they suggest but closer to £900 per valid complaint. With the average valid complainant getting about £128 as a result of the Local Government Ombudsman’s involvement they are clearly not cost effective.

Don't forget most of the premature complaints costing the Local Government Ombudsman £640 to deal with end up as another complaint after a few months.

'....he or she can complain to the Ombudsman again

Looks like a case of double counting to improve their statistics to me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The LGO and oral hearings

The local government ombudsman often ignores evidence. Oral hearings may be the only way a complainant can stop this dubious practice. By requesting an oral hearing a complainant would have the opportunity to put their evidence directly to the ombudsman and question and validate the other party’s evidence. This might just bring the local government ombudsman to a grinding halt but that is entirely a problem of their own making. If they didn’t constantly ignore valid evidence there would be no reason for complainants to demand an oral hearing.

If you would like to read the full text of my article please click here

You can also click the archive link located in the side bar

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Analysis of an LGO's annual review

The Shadow's article 'An analysis of an LGO's annual letter' has been completed.

He is on holiday at the moment and has asked me to archive his article. Once he returns home he will also link to his article. In the meantime you can read his article by clicking here or the link in the side bar.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Update on my complaint

On the 30th May 2006 I posted a comment on the Ombudsman's decision to comeback on my case. Click here to read that post.

During 2002 an Assistant Ombudsman simply rang up a County Council Solicitor and accepted everything they said without any sort of validation. The Assistant Ombudsman even refused to tell me what they had discussed. Evidence to prove the Solicitor was misleading him was available but he refused to look at it. Even more worrying, however, is the fact that the Solicitor he talked to was the one I was complaining about. As a result I have been attempting to get the Ombudsman to comeback on my case since 2002. All because the Assistant Ombudsman did not adhere to the rules of natural justice and tried to bury my complaint for benefit of the County Council.

Since May 2006 I have been told that my complaint has now been submitted to the Councils for their formal response. Something that should have happened in 2002 if the Assistant Ombudsman was doing his job properly. To date I am still waiting for the Councils' response. Click here to read my 2002 complaint.

I will post further details when I receive any more news.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

LGO annual letter

My article about an LGO's annual letter to a council is now finished. Due to the size of the article I have posted it in my evidence archive. Click here if you are interested in reading the article.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

LGO annual review exposed

I have come to an arrangement with a fellow Ombudsman Watcher, regarding the LGO's annual letters to Councils and their annual review. I will write and post an article on the LGO's annual letters to Councils and The Shadow will write and post an article on the LGO's 2006 annual review.

LGO annual letters exposed

The cartoon below was posted in advance of an article I am writing about the Local Government Ombudsman's annual letter to Councils.

Whilst I was waiting for a Google alert, to identify a Council that was using the LGO's annual letter to put a positive spin on their own acts of maladministration, (I decided to use the first Council that Google returned as the basis for my article) I developed the cartoon below to support my article.

I now have the Council's viewpoint from the newspaper article and the LGO's viewpoint from the annual letter they sent to the Council concerned. My article is nearing completion and will be posted in a week or so. It should make interesting reading.