Please note: The Commission for Local Administration in England (CLAE) is essentially the name given to the English Local Government Ombudsmen as a group.
When Pat Thomas (LGO York Office) retired during 2005 she was replaced by Anne Seex. Mrs Thomas was not allowed to investigate complaints against Lancaster City Council because she lived in the area and had personal connections with the council. As a result Jerry White (LGO Coventry Office) investigated complaints about Lancaster City Council.
During 2006 Trafford Council asked if they could change Ombudsmen, they weren't happy with the way Anne Seex, Pat Thomas' replacement was investigating their complaints and wanted to change to a less negative Ombudsmen. Following this request the CLAE took Trafford off Anne Seex and gave it to Jerry White, whilst Lancaster was taken off Jerry White and given to Anne Seex. No doubt to balance the books as far as their work load was concerned. The reason given by the CLAE, 'because a relative of Anne Seex used to work for Trafford'. However, this swop ignores a more important impediment, Anne Seex herself used to work for Lancaster.
Their response to a Freedom of Information confirms the above. The key document can also be downloaded here
Newspaper article about Trafford's request to change Ombudsmen dated Friday, December 8th, 2006
The Commission for Local Administration decision to give Trafford to White and Lancaster to Seex, Tuesday 13th February 2007
Less than 3 months and with the Christmas holidays in between! It would appear from the facts and dates available that the Commission for Local Administration just used the Anne Seex 'relative' as an excuse to give Trafford what they wanted. For if they were that concerned about the issue they wouldn't have given her Lancaster. If there is no impediment to her investigating complaints against Lancaster why didn't they give her Lancaster when she took up the post of Ombudsman in 2005? And if there is no impediment to her investigating complaints against Lancaster how can they argue that there is an impediment to her investigating complaints against Trafford because a 'relative' of hers used to work for them.
Further proof, if any more was needed, that the Commission for Local Administration are under the control of councils. Local Government Ombudsmen, impartial, what do you think? Please vote in my poll at the head of my blog.
If you don't agree then explain this
Quote from Trafford: We're now pleased that because of this and other issues we've raised with the ombudsman's office, from April 2007 any cases involving Trafford Council will be dealt with by the ombudsman's office based at Coventry rather than York. You can read this statement at the bottom of the newspaper article published on Friday the 8th December 2006 , some 8 weeks before the Commission formally took their decision.
I addition why did the CLAE state the change was necessary because a relative of Anne Seex worked at Trafford when Trafford say it was because Anne Seex was too negative. Which is just a another way of saying she was not biased enough in their favour.