Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This is like deja vu all over again

After 17 years experience of Local Authority Maladministration and 11 years experience of the Local Government Ombudsman there is one recurring theme that stands out head and shoulders above the rest: The limited number of tactics that the Council and the Ombudsmen use to derail your complaint.

Therefore, if your complaint takes more than a few months I guarantee that you will experience these same old tactics over and over and over and over again. Here's the top ten!
  1. Delay (This is their favourite tactic[a])
  2. Allowing the Council to break their promises.
  3. Accepting anything the Council assert whilst ignoring anything the complainant states.
  4. Ignoring or misrepresenting evidence that supports the complainant’s case.
  5. Accepting and bolstering evidence that's irrelevant but superficially appears to improve the Council’s case.
  6. Misinterpreting statutory powers in a way to enhance the Councils defence whilst damaging the complainants case.
  7. Manipulating expert evidence to support the Council’s case and damage the Complainants case.
  8. Producing evidence and fallacious arguments for the Council to save them the time and trouble.
  9. Moving the goal posts to improve the councils position and damage the complainants case.
  10. Ignoring part of the complaint altogether.
[a] This is their favourite tactic because all complaints are time limited. Therefore, delay favours the Council (and the Local Government Ombudsman). People move house, die, get fed up, move on, give up etc. Local Authorities are even on record stating that delay is beneficial to them.

11 years to resolve a case that should have been resolved in a few weeks is an example of the Local Government Ombudsman's willingness to use delaying tactics.


So if the Local Government Ombudsman can't derail your complaint the first time they will try and try again until they succeed or delay the complaint long enough to extinguish it on other grounds [a]. Unless of course you are one of the lucky ones they have chosen to advance their evangelical agenda.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Torfaen petition

The reason I think this petition is important is because it highlights the difference between what Public Service Ombudsmen consider is redress and what a complainant wants as redress. In this case the Welsh Ombudsman awarded £500 compensation when it's quite clear the complainant just wanted someone to be held accountable for the injustice they suffered.
Quote:
100. I recommend that the Council should apologise to the J family for the shortcomings set out in this report, and pay them the sum of £500 in recognition of their distress at the unfair treatment they have received.

£500 is a paltry level of compensation for what the family had to endure. £500 does not redress the situation it just adds insult to injury. It is clear from the petition that the family want heads to roll not a pat on the head and £500 pay off. I appreciate that the petition has no hope of success because the Government do not have the power to remove a CEO. However, it's not the success or failure of the petition that's important , it's the message it send MPs, Councillors and Local & National Government. People have had enough of rolling over for Public Service Ombudsmen and their paltry awards of compensation they want real justice and they are prepared to fight for it. Well done Wendy Williams for submitting the petition.

If you want to support Wendy and send a clear message to Government that we have had enough of pathetic Public Service Ombudsmen (Local Government Ombudsman in England) you can help by signing her petition here. When you have done that check out the other petitions about UK Ombudsmen here.

Read my earlir post 'Why money rather than the sack?' here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Torfaen Council petition

A petition that involves the Welsh Public Service Ombudsman has been posted on the Government Petition website. However, in this case they found the council guilty of maladministration and the petitioner wants the CEO of the council sacked.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Remove the Chief Executive of Torfaen County Borough Council from her position. Please sign my e-petition to have the Chief Executive of Torfaen County Borough Council remove from her position. The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales investigated and found Torfaen Council guilty of maladministration and unfair treatment towards Torfaen residents. Report dated 15 May 2007. That can be located on Torfaen website. Please sign and give the victims your support. Thank you, Wendy Williams

Get the report mentioned above here visit Torfaen Council website here sign the petition here.

In the report the Welsh Public Service Ombudsman states.

(97) To sum up: I conclude that there was significant maladministration on the part of the Council in its handling of the approach made to it by the J family.

E-justice

I was not the first Local Government Ombudsman Watcher and I am sure I won't be the last but I am confident that the power of the people will eventually prevail and bring an end to the unjust, unfair and biased Local Government Ombudsmen. Especially now the Internet has made campaigning and publishing so much easier. So much so I have decided to coin a new word for what I am trying to do.We've had E-mail, E-petitions, E-books now we have

E-justice

Or what others may simply describe as bloggers revenge.

Irony

The irony of the current situation is that if the Local Government Ombudsman had done their job properly and resolved my complaint between 1997 and 2006 I would never have started this blog.

In my first ever post (May 3rd 2006) I stated: 'I intend to maintain this blog until the Ombudsman does their job or ceases to exist.'

Well it's now 2008 and they still don't appear to want to do their job so it looks like I will be here until they cease to exist. The choice was theirs so they can't blame me if I continue this blog and keep campaigning.

Which rather goes to prove that they are victims of their own failures!

LGO LOGOS

Patrick has sent me another LGO logos to add to the list of possibilities.

With the optional LGO catch phrases of:
  • Our load of BULL gives you wings.
  • Justice from us is as rare as a flying pig.
  • Our statistics are just a load of 'porkies'.
  • Your Local Government Hambudsman.
  • We make a pigs ear out of every investigation.

Why?

Janet, one of my blog readers, asked me a question recently. She asked, 'why are you still using the Local Government Ombudsman if you know they are so bad and don't recommend them to others?'

My answer to that question is because someone has to collect and publish the evidence!

And I am certainly collecting the evidence by the bucket load!

Tragedy or Farce?

Karl Marx said history always repeats itself, the first as a tragedy, the second time as a farce.

Well if my experience of the Local Government Ombudsman is anything to go by, it started as a tragedy[1] in 1997 and looks like it's going to end in a farce [2] in 2008, he is right.

[1] My first complaint about the problems created by the Councils. (A tragedy of a Local Government Ombudsman's investigation.)

[2] My second complaint about the failure of the Councils to correct their earlier problems. (A farce of a Local Government Ombudsman's investigation.)

I wonder if Karl Marx ever considered what comes next?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another LGO logo

A reader has sent me another logo that the LGO may wish to consider if they ever decide to replace their current one.

With the optional LGO catch phrases:
  • We're too chicken to do our job properly.
  • We're finger lickin' bad and toe curlin' perverse.
  • Why did the Ombudsman cross the road? So they couldn't see the evidence!
  • We make a Cock-up of everything we touch.
  • We fly in the face of logic.
  • Why did the Ombudsman cross the road? Because the Council told them to.
  • We are fowl.
  • Why did the Ombudsman cross the road? They never give a reason.
And a fitting quote by John Cleese: 'This Chicken is no more. It has ceased to function. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It's a stiff. If it wasn't nailed to the road it'd be pushing up daisies. It's snuffed it. It's metabolic processes are now history. It's bleeding demised. It's rung down the curtain, shuffled off the mortal coil and joined the bleeding Choir Invisible. This is an Ex-Chicken. Ergo, it did not cross the road.'

Please send me your LGO-LOGO suggestions.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Google reader and Blogs

If you want an easier way to keep up with my blog posts then why not use Google reader it constantly checks my blog (and other blogs and websites of your choice) for new content. It's as easy as checking your email, all the latest news from your favourite website and blogs in one place.

If you want to start your own blog click here. It's easier than you think and it's totally free.

DIY LGO (2)

Further to my DIY LGO post

Always remember, the answer lies not in what they[1] want to disclose but in what they don't want to disclose.

Therefore, don't waste too much time analysing any material they freely disclose. Investigate and analyse the things they refuse to disclose, for it is in those things that you will find your answer.

[1] The Local Government Ombudsman or the Local Authority you are complaining about.

LGO LOGO

If the LGO, like Oldham Council below, are thinking about a new image and want to save £100,000 on a new logo design then I can offer them a free one.
With the optional LGO catch phrases:
  • £12,000,000 down the plug hole.
  • Justice down the plug hole.
  • Impartiality down the plug hole.
  • Common sense down the plug hole.
  • Maladministration down the plug hole.
  • Redress down the plug hole.
  • A complainants chances down the plug hole.
  • Openness down the plug hole.

One day soon, if they carry on as they are, we may well see the LGO going down their own plug hole!

Oldham Council

Councils, when they're not running dodgy parking enforcement schemes or committing acts of maladministration they are busy wasting council taxpayers money on stupid re-branding exercises. Oldham Council is the most recent of a long line of council who have wasted vast sums of money on re-branding. Read the story here and here.

I am sure you will agree it was well worth £100,000 of Oldham council taxpayers money, NOT.

The leader of Oldham Council, Councillor David Jones, said: “This rebranding project has been a wake-up call for Oldham to start thinking and acting more positively about its future."

I think it's about time Oldham council tax payers woke-up and voted the people responsible out of office. If anyone is wondering why I mention this issue on my blog it's for the simple reason that my Grandfather and Mother were born in Oldham and I am still waiting for the Ombudsman's final report so I can get on with it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Highway Robbery

This time Leeds Council acting illegally.

Again it's a good job Neil Herron has reported it to the Police rather than relying on the Local Government Ombudsman. They would have just excused it as a simple administrative error!

If councils aren't bothered about breaking the law then they aren't going to be too worried about the Local Government Ombudsmen! It's no wonder Local Government Ombudsmen are frightened of councils and behave like pet poodles.

Highway Robbery

A Local authority that is making £27 million cuts to services has had to write off more than £2.5 million in unpaid parking fines, it was revealed yesterday. A confidential report said some 34,260 tickets issued in Aberdeen over four years had had to be scrapped because of a legal mistake. The move comes after a court ruled all parking tickets should include the date of the offence and date the ticket was issued. A High Court judge in England made the ruling after two successful appeals against Barnet Council.

Labour councillor Willie Young said: "This is atrocious news. This is public money that was owed to the council. More should have been done at the time to chase it up."

No Councillor Young, it's not public money that was owed to the council, it's money your council attempted to illegally extort from motorists.
If your current chief executive officer can't run a legal parking system then find someone who can. The local council taxpayer should not be expected to suffer because you employ incompetent staff. However, your comments make it clear that your council uses parking enforcement as an alternative to local taxes.

Councillor Young,
The question you should be asking your fellow councillors is "why are we employing people on fat cat salaries when they can't even implement a simple parking enforcement system properly?"

It's a good job that someone took legal action rather than relying on the Local Government Ombudsman. Even if the council's parking enforcement was illegal the Local Government Ombudsman would have just excused it as a simple administrative error!

Read the Scotsman article here

Or what Neil Herron has to say here

The law means ... lines, signs(Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002), Traffic Orders (Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Local Authority Traffic Order Procedures 1996) and associated paperwork issued under the 1991 Road Traffic Act or the 2004 Traffic Management Act.


Monday, April 21, 2008

The end is nigh

I received and responded to the draft report into my second (2002) complaint last month and expect the final report will be published at the end of this week. Because the final report becomes a public document I will then, at long last, be free to publish my response and background story as a case study into the role and ineffectiveness of the Local Government Ombudsman.

Click here to review my last post on the chronology so far.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New improved blog (Now with added comments)

Due to other priorities (personal) I previously had to disable the comments feature of this blog. My priorities have now changed so I have decided the time is right to enable the comments feature. Comments from Local Government Ombudsman offices, Councils and public officials especially welcome.
Let the comments begin! Click on 'comments' link, below and to the left of the post you wish to comment on.

Social Evils update

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has just published a report into their study to identify what are today's social evils.

You can download a copy of the web consultation here.

Page 25

"A fairly sizeable group of participants focused on the unfairness and bias of local government Ombudsmen: the analysis of the website responses suggests that these participants were directed to the social evils website from a blog showcasing the failings of this mechanism for redress against public institutions, but their concerns echo a broader theme that emerged that public institutions are unaccountable."

I wonder if they mean my blog? (This was my earlier post on the subject). If they were it illustrates the power of bloggers.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Card tricks


By way of analogy, consider yourself in a card game against the Council with the Ombudsman as the dealer. The Ombudsman shows all your cards to the Council whilst refusing to show you any of their cards. The Ombudsman then has a private discussion (or discussions) with the Council on the best way of beating your hand. The Ombudsman then gives extra cards and chips to the Council to improve their position whilst forcing you to stick with what you started with. Once they think they have stacked the game against you (this may take some time because they may also need to find a way to undermine your position as well as improve theirs) they show their hand with the expectation that the Council, with the Ombudsman's help, will win the game.

Does anyone stand a chance of winning such a rigged game? Surprisingly the answer to that is yes, providing you know from the outset what they are attempting to do.

However, if you want the 'nuts' [1] you will need to do a little DIY LGO.
(please refer to my earlier post)

[1] The absolute best possible hand in any given hand of poker. The unbeatable, unbreakable hand.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

DIY LGO

After 11 years experience of the Local Government Ombudsman, I would never recommend them to anyone. However, if you decide to use them you should be aware of the following.

Once you have submitted your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman never stop collecting information and evidence yourself. Many complainants fall into this trap and are then solely reliant on the LGO investigator identifying, collecting and interpreting the necessary evidence to support their complaint. This is a huge mistake, the investigator is not working for you!

LGO investigators are under pressure [1] to close down your complaint. As a result, rather than investigating a complaint thoroughly, if at all, they will look for the easiest way to close it down.

[1] LGO investigators have targets to achieve and are paid a bonus if they achieve those targets. One of the main targets is the number of complaints they determine.

The only way to protect yourself is to collect information and evidence yourself. Submitting Data Protection and Freedom of Information requests to the council concerned is one way to gather information and evidence. Another is to check out the statute law data base to ensure that the council and ombudsman are working within their statutory powers. Don't just take their word for it because they often misrepresent the truth. Don't forget to consider the Human Rights issues because most complaints also involve Human Rights. You may also need to learn a little about the law in general. I have posted a few case laws that may help. As a last resort, if you feel either the council or ombudsman have made an unlawful decision, you could seek a judicial review. If money is a problem and you can't get legal aid then you can always become a litigant in person. This procedure is not for the faint hearted so if you have any doubts you should obtain legal advice. If you need help or advice then you could do a lot worse than post a question on the Ombudsman Watchers public forum. You will also need to conduct some research about the Ombudsman, or more particularly the devious tactics they employ to bury maladministration for their friends and ex colleagues still working in local Councils. A good starting point for your research is LGO watch and Public Service Ombudsman Watchers. Those two web sites will provide you with a wealth of information and useful links.

Remember, under normal circumstances [2], the primary objective of the Ombudsman is to close your complaint down as cheaply as possible for their friends in the council concerned. Your objective is to make it as difficult as possible for them to do that until you receive an adequate remedy for the maladministration you complained about. The longer it takes them to stuff you with an inadequate remedy the more successful you have been.

[2] Unless the council concerned has annoyed the Ombudsman more than you have. Trafford Council is an example; following their demand to change Ombudsmen, the Ombudsman concerned awarded £100,000 to a Trafford resident who had submitted a complaint against them. Hell hath no fury like an ombudsmen scorned.

The Balchin's case is a paradigm example. During 1991 the Local Government Ombudsman refused to investigate their complaint [3]. The Balchins had to fight for 14 years until finally during 2005 the Local Government Ombudsman jointly issued a report with the Parliamentary Ombudsman admitting that the Balchins had suffered injustice as a result of maladministration. The Balchins were awarded £200,000. A 14 year battle for justice just because a Local Government Ombudsman tried to bury their complaint in 1991.

[3] During 1991 the Local Government Ombudsman told the Balchins that they didn't have a complaint of merit.

The irony of the situation is that, even though they have had their fingers badly burnt in the past, Local Government Ombudsmen still cling to the policy of believing everything a council tell them. This is one of the Ombudsman's achilles' heels that complainants can exploit to their advantage. Especially when/if the case gets to court and the Council can't back up the statements they made to the Ombudsman.

Mary Seneviratne 'Public Services and Administrative Justice' (2002 Butterworth) : Whilst accepting that ombudsmen have some flexibility in deciding what may or may not be maladministration she also states that ' where actions are clearly contrary to the law this is maladministration'.

Therefore, the $64,000 question the Ombudsman will be left to answer is, 'how could a court find a Council guilty of maladministration [4] when they [the Ombudsman] had previously asserted that the Council was not guilty of maladministration?'

[4]
infringing your legal/human rights. (refer to the comment by Mary Seneviratne 'where actions are clearly contrary to the law this is maladministration.')

That fear was the underlying reason why the Local Government Omnbudsman decided to find in favour of the Balchins after 14 years. If they hadn't changed their mind they would have had to explain their own incompetance. And as everyone knows Local Government Ombudsmen don't like to admit they are wrong even when it is clear that they are. Yet another of their achilles' heels that complainants can exploit.

LGO Watchers: The 4 stages

  • Stage 1 Expectation: During this phase you still expect the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate your complaint.
  • Stage 2 Realisation: When you realise that the Local Government Ombudsman isn't meeting your expectations.
  • Stage 3 Frustration: When you realise the Local Government Ombudsman isn't interested in your complaint let alone justice or the truth. All they are interested in is burying the problem for the local authority concerned.
  • Stage 4 Retaliation: When you decide to do something about it.
What stage are you up to?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LGO 1974 to 2008

LGO 1974 to 1994
Since 1995
  • all newly appointed Local Government Ombudsmen have been (ex) Local Government Chief Executive Officers.
  • findings of maladministration against their ex colleagues in Local Authorities have plummeted. We now have a situation in which Local Government Ombudsmen report less than 1% of all complaints submitted to them as 'maladministration'.
  • all independent customer satisfaction surveys have shown significant dissatisfaction with Local Government Ombudsmen.
  • the Local Government Ombudsman's office has been morphed into a disrespected, biased and ineffective Local Authority pet poodle.
LGO 1995 to 2008

LGO watch was launched in 2003 to expose the systemic and widespread bias and maladministration in the operations of the
Local Government Ombudsman's office.

UK Ombudsmen petitions update

Open petitions

English Public Service and Local Government Ombudsmen

Trevor Nunn (LGO watcher): We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to to set up an Appeal Tribunal that can review the decisions of Public Service Ombudsmen (including Local Government Ombudsmen)....Click here to sign this petition

Keith Edmunds (LGO watcher): We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to remove the absolute exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act enjoyed by the Local Government Ombudsman....Click here to sign this petition

Vicky Gray: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Change the Powers of the Local Government Ombudsman....Click here to sign this petition

Scottish Public Service Ombudsman

Gregor Hamilton: Calling on the Scottish Parliament to invite Audit Scotland to conduct, without delay, an economy, efficiency and effectiveness audit of the office of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.... Click here to sign the petition

NOTE: (This petition website appears to be experiencing difficulties because at times it is very slow to respond. A bit like the Ombudsman in fact. If you have any problems please be patient and try again later.)

Financial Service Ombudsman

Stephen Brook: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish the Financial Services Ombudsman....Click here to sign this petition

Closed petitions

English Local Government Ombudsman

Pauline Nunn (LGO victim): We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to implement Sir Geoffrey Chipperfield's 1995 recommendations and abolish Local Government Ombudsmen.... Closed with 441 signatures. Click here to review this petition View the Government's response here

Scottish Public Service Ombudsman

D W R Whittet QPR: Calling for the Scottish Parliament to set up an Appeal Tribunal to review final decisions by the Public Services Ombudsman where any complainer so requests. Closed with 43 signatures. Click here to review this petition

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Portsmouth Conspiracy Company

Another website about council corruption, this time Portsmouth County Council

I note that there are similarities with the Councillors actions in this case and the Ombudsman's actions in my case.

PCC states: "If you are members of the public and are thinking why most of these councillors did nothing, you have to understand the mentality. These councillors rightly believed that Officers would not lie or mislead them. It is a part of good governance. These Officers took advantage of that principle.

Whereas I could just as easily state: "If you are members of the public and are thinking why has the Ombudsman done nothing, you have to understand the mentality. Ombudsmen and their investigators wrongly believe that Council Officers would not lie or mislead them. The Council Officers in my case just took advantage of that flawed policy.

Ironically a policy that must eventually lead to the downfall of Local Government Ombudsmen!
For one day that policy will drag them into a compromising situation they can't escape from.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thanks

I would like to thank everyone who has already signed my petition, with special thanks to all the Councillors who also decided to sign. There are still two months to go so please ask your colleagues, friends and family to consider signing the petition before the 13th June deadline.

Trevor Nunn (Petition Creator). Fighting for justice, fighting for a better system.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ombudsman's oath

Some Countries make their Ombudsmen and deputies swear an oath before taking up office.

"I swear that I will perform my duties in accordance with the Constitution and the laws, I will protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, I will perform these duties thoroughly and impartially, and in doing so I will adhere to the principles of equity and good administration."

Maybe it's about time Local Government Ombudsmen had to swear a similar oath because it appears to many observers that all our Ombudsmen do is help public authorities bury acts of maladministration and human rights infringements.


Human Rights Ombudsman

Some counties have a Human Rights Ombudsman whose role is to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms against the state bodies, local self-government bodies, and bodies entrusted with public authorities.

Whilst in this country we have Local Government Ombudsmen who don't protect human rights and fundamental freedoms against the state bodies, local self-government bodies, and bodies entrusted with public authorities.

Why? Because Local Government Ombudsmen prefer to protect local government rather than the human rights of citizens.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Burden of proof

If a public body has interfered with your human rights the Courts must look, with 'anxious scrutiny', to see if the interference was really necessary to achieve one or more of the stated aims recognised by the Convention. If the answer is no, the Courts will find that the public body has acted unlawfully.

One significant advantage for the citizen is that the burden of argument shifts from the claimant to the defendant public authority. The claimant no longer has to demonstrate unreasonableness, but rather the defendant (public authority) needs to produce a justification for the decision that satisfies the court that it was properly made.

If the courts use this approach, why do Local Government Ombudsmen,
when they know human rights issues are involved, still place the burden of proof on the complainant rather than the public authority concerned?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Statute Law Database

If you want to ensure that a Public Authority has not misled you when they quote from a statute visit the Statute Law database.

For example, Local Government Ombudsmen often quote from Part III of the 1974 Local Government Act. Highway Authorities the Highways Act 1980. Councils from various Local Government Acts. Don't let then mislead you any more, double check everything they say on this useful statute law database.

You can even check out the 1998 Human Rights Act to see if the Public Authority concerned is infringing your human rights. Remember, It is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right.

You need to protect your own interests because you can't rely on the Local Government Ombudsman.
Know the law, know your rights, fight for justice and expose the public authority concerned.

Road adoption gazatteer

All Councils are statutory obliged to maintain an up to date road adoption gazetteer [1]. Today I decided to check the status of the roads on the development adjacent to my property and found, contrary to what they assert, the roads are still not listed as adopted. In addition, I also noticed this week that a private company was still maintaining the play area, open space and part of the road that the Council curiously lists as adopted. I have previously asked (and paid) for a definitive statement regarding the true situation but the Council refused to supply a definitive statement and returned my money instead.

Sometimes the truth is not in what the Public Authority says but in what they refuse to say.

[1] Highway Act 1980 Section 36

(6) The council of every county and London borough and the Common Council shall cause to be made, and shall keep corrected up to date, a list of the streets within their area which are highways maintainable at the public expense.

(7) Every list made under subsection (6) above shall be kept deposited at the offices of the council by whom it was made and may be inspected by any person free of charge at all reasonable hours and in the case of a list made by the council of a county [F8 in England], the county council shall supply to the council of each district in the county an up to date list of the streets within the area of the district that are highways maintainable at the public expense, and the list so supplied shall be kept deposited at the office of the district council and may be inspected by any person free of charge at all reasonable hours.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Maladministration

Maladministration doesn't cease to exist just because Local Government Ombudsmen cease to report it.

Injustice

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

My mini protest
  • An Ombudsman is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.
  • Most truths are so naked that Ombudsmen feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit.
  • An Ombudsman who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.
  • Ombudsmen want the facts to fit their preconceptions. When they don't it is easier for them to ignore the facts than to change their preconceptions.

Where's Wally?

Where's Wally is a series of children's books created by the British illustrator Martin Handford. The books consist of a series of complex full-page illustrated pictures of hundreds of tiny people doing various illegal things. The purpose is to find Wally among the group, which could be difficult as he is always well hidden.

Where's Wally illustrates the point, if you want to hide a tree, hide it in a forest, a grain of sand in the dessert or a drop of water in the ocean etc.

Accordingly the best hiding place for a false/fallacious argument is in a plethora of irrelevant or incidental arguments. Therefore, if you receive an unnecessarily long winded, overblown and complex looking document full of irrelevant and incidental arguments from a Local Government Ombudsman then take care to look very closely. If there wasn't a 'Wally' in there somewhere they wouldn't need to provide a hiding place.

Martin Handford would have found it impossible to hide Wally if he was the only character on the page just as an Ombudsman would find it impossible to hide a false/fallacious argument in a concise document.

Sophistry

A sophist hopes that no one will realize that their arguments are invalid and will believe them anyway based upon how strongly the argument appears to be valid.

The only truly effective means of combating sophistry is a clear understanding of logic and reasoning yourself. When you know how arguments need to be structured in order to be valid and how the various fallacies work, then you will also understand when an argument being offered is simply unacceptable. You cannot prevent a person from trying to use sophistry, but you can demonstrate that their attempts won’t work because you know more than they are giving you credit for.

In addition, you could always publish the reasoning behind their decisions together with a detailed analysis of all the fallacious arguments and flawed logic they have used in order to arrive at their perverse conclusions.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

60 years old

'Where after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home ~ so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world'

Eleanor Roosevelt, Chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, 1948

Friday, April 04, 2008

Local Authority Despotism

A Court of Star Chamber was established in 1487 by Henry VII as an instrument of royal power. The power of the Court of Star Chamber grew considerably and by the time of Charles I it had become a byword for misuse and abuse of power by the king and his circle. The court could be used to suppress opposition to royal policies. Court sessions were held in secret, with no right of appeal. It used simplified methods of effecting justice by which the common law rules were dispensed with. It was a hated symbol of royal despotism and finally abolished by Parliament in 1641, though its name survives still to designate arbitrary, secretive proceedings in opposition to personal rights.

Local Government Ombudsmen were established by the Government in 1974. UK Local Government Ombudsmen also use simplified methods of effecting justice by which common law rules are dispensed with, they work in private and there is no right of appeal. As a result they are becoming a hated symbol of local government despotism. Local Government Ombudsmen are nothing more than a modern version of a Court of Star Chamber, set up by government to suppress complaints about local government.

Since 1995
  • all Local Government Ombudsmen have been recruited from Local Government.
  • investigations leading to a report finding maladministration against a council have fallen to an all time low.
  • all independent customer satisfaction surveys have revealed significant customer dissatisfaction with Local Government Ombudsmen.
Local Government Ombudsmen
An administrative justice system heavily biased against the citizen!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Another petition

Another LGO watcher has put another petition on the Government E-petition website.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to remove the absolute exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act enjoyed by the Local Government Ombudsman under Articles 32 and 44 of the Local Government Act 1974.

Sign the petition here

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Facts

Facts to not cease to exist just because an Ombudsman ignores them.