Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Maladministration out of control: Rule Number 1

Rule number 1: Give a Local Authority the statutory power to do something and many of them will abuse it. Technically this would make them guilty of maladministration but with impotent and friendly Local Government Ombudsmen like ours they know they can get away with it.

Here's a few of the more recent examples.

Local Authorities were given the power to enforce some traffic offences, now most of them are involved in running illegal but very profitable schemes of one sort or another. For more information visit Neil Herron's blog.

As soon as Local Authorities were given surveillance powers, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), many set about abusing them. More information here.

The Government gave Local Authorities powers under the Town and Country planning act, more particularly section 106 but some councils, such as Purbeck (Dorset), have decided to abuse those powers. Why, because maladministration pays. In Dorset's case £1,000 every time someone sought planning permission for an extension. I think they netted about £90,000 before being caught out.

So whether it's planning, care homes, highways, social work or rubbish collection many Local Authorities now prefer to abuse their powers rather than do the job they are empowered and paid to do. Why? For the simple reason maladministration not only pays it pays handsomely.

Take Trafford as an example, they recently saved £100,000 through an act of maladministration and the Local Government Ombudsman can do nothing about it.

As a result we now have Local Authorities running dodgy parking schemes, dodgy planning departments, dodgy surveillance schemes, dodgy highway departments and the list goes on. Where there's a will, a Local Authority will find a way of abusing their powers to save money or profit from maladministration.

My question is where have the Local Government Ombudsmen been for the last ten years? I thought it was their job to encourage Local Authorities to use administrative best practices and discourage maladministration by ensuring it wasn't a profitable alternative?

No comments:

Post a Comment