Sunday, May 25, 2008

Now entering the 12th year!

About this time eleven years ago (1997) I had a meeting with a Council Solicitor regarding the problems they faced in completing a new highway (to adoptable standards) in the vicinity of my property. I had attempted to bring this problems to their attention as early as 1991 but they chose to ignore me.

Therefore, when the Council signed the formal Section 38 Road Adoption Agreement with the developer in 1992 they were already aware that the new highway was not being constructed in the position shown on the agreed Section 38 plans. However, one of the terms and conditions of the Section 38 Agreement was that the Developer constructed the new highway to the Section 38 plans. So in essence the Council knew that the Developer would be in breach of the agreement the minute they signed it. The Developer further breached the Section 38 Agreement during 1994 when they failed to meet the part two certificate deadline. Yet the Council not only allowed them to continue build and sell houses they also allowed them to start a new phase, this time without a Section 38 Agreement at all! The Council also allowed the Developer to continue to build and sell houses even though they were also in breach of a Section 106 Agreement to provide a play area for children and an open space for adults before many of the properties were occupied.

So between 1992 and 1997 we had a Council freely allowing a Developer to breach every agreement they had with them without taking any prudent enforcement action, whilst curiously allowing the Developer to build and sell properties worth (at today's prices) some £10 million. Suspicious or what? Particularly since the same developer also bought and developed the old Council headquarters land. They even left the road on that development unfinished as well.

Having completed all the properties on land in their ownership the Developer then went into receivership leaving the Council with the unfinished highway but no company to take action against. Ironically, during 1991 I asked the Council what they would do in that exact scenario.

During 1997 the Solicitor for the Council accepted that the new highway couldn't be finished without it impacting on my property but refused to buy the necessary land for them to complete the works to the Section 38 planned and bonded standard. The Council Solicitor then threatened to complete the works without my agreement even though he knew they would interfere with my legal rights. It was this threat that led to my first complaint (June 1997) to the Local Government Ombudsman. (Between 1998 and 2000 the County Council as Highway Authority also held the view that the road could not be completed in its current position without it impacting on my land, however, they changed their mind when they realised that the Insurance Company would not pay for the highway to be moved. [1])

Between 1997 and 2000 (before the Insurance Company refused to pay for the road to be moved) both Councils and the LGO accepted that the highway would impact my property unless is was moved first. However, since 2000 (after the Insurance Company refused to pay for the roadway to be moved) the Highway Authority have been asserting that it won't impact on my property, although thy won't provide me with any plans to prove their assertions and neither will they tell me what legal authority gives them the right to carry out the work.

11 years after they first threatened to complete the works, the Local Government Ombudsman is apparently not in the least bit interested in the fact that the Council haven't completed the highway, provided the necessary plans to prove they can, or even told me what legal authority allows them to interfere with my legal and human rights. So what can you do whilst the ombudsmen has their head in the sand?


[1] Under the terms and conditions of a Section 38 Road Adoption Agreement the Developer has to have insurance in place in case they go bust. This allows the Council to complete any unfinished road without the cost falling on local taxpayers. Unfortunately, curiously and suspiciously, even though the Council knew in 1991 that the road was not being constructed in the insured an planned position they still issued a certificate during June 1992 stating it was. This allowed the Developer to reduce the insurance cover to such an extent it was no longer sufficient enough to pay for the road to be moved. And of course carry on building and selling properties.

And that's the reason the County Council as Highway Authority are still trying to stuff me with the problem! The Insurance Company won't pay for the road to be completed to the planned and insured standard because of the Council's earlier maladministration. The Council don't want to pay for the road to be moved because it will expose their 'actions' between 1991 and 1997 to local Councillors and taxpayers. So it's easier for them to try and shuffle their problem on to me instead. Particularly since we have such an ineffective and overtly biased Local Government Ombudsman who appears more than willing to bury their head in the sand instead of protecting the human rights of a citizen.

Not a good advert for the effectiveness and impartiality of the Local Government Ombudsman, is it?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cynicism

No matter how cynical you become about Local Government Ombudsmen, it's impossible to keep up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Broken promises

Some eight weeks ago I was told by the Ombudsman that the Council had promised her they had decided on a course of action and would be communicating it to me imminently.

Still waiting, another broken promise, more delay

Deja vu

7 years ago the Council promised the then Ombudsman that they would redesign the roadway so that it would not impact on my property and then redesigned it so it did. Another broken promise!

6 years ago the Council promised the then Ombudsman that they were doing everything possible to resolve the situation and then did virtually nothing. Another broken promise!

Has the council been castigated by the Ombudsman for breaking any of their promises,? What do you think? It would appear that Councils will promise Local Government Ombudsmen anything to get them of their back and then ignore their promises knowing that Local Government Ombudsmen can't do anything about it because they are impotent.

When did you last hear about a Council being castigated by a Local Government Ombudsman for breaking a promise, lying or using delaying tactics?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Petition

There is only one month to go before my petition closes. Thanks to everyone who has signed my petition. If you haven't signed it yet can I urge you to sign it now. Click here to sign

Please don't forget to ask you friends and family.

More petitions to follow, I intend to keep up a steady flow of petitions until all Local Government Ombudsmen stop burying maladministration for their friends and ex colleagues in local councils.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A finding of maladministration is not the end.

Many people spend months if not years just trying to persuade a Local Government Ombudsman to investigate their complaint. What they hope for is a proper investigation followed by a finding of maladministration, an apology from the council and some sort of redress for the wrong. Or in the alternative a sound reason why the LGO decided there was no maladministration.

However, what they fail to appreciate is that a finding of maladministration from a Local Government Ombudsman is not the end of the story because many councils never actually provide the remedy they promise the Ombudsman.

Using my case as an example, during 1998 the then Ombudsman[1] found the then highway authority[2] guilty of maladministration. In January 1999 they promised the then Ombudsman that the roadway would be completed in such a way that it would have no impact on my property. However, during 2001 the highway authority attempted to complete the road in a way which would have an impact on my property. In essence the later highway authority was attempting to maladminister their way out of a problem that the earlier highway authority had maladministered their way into by the simple expediency of ignoring the promise made to the Ombudsman in 1998.

My first complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman was as a result of the highway authority threatening to complete the roadway in a way that would impact on my property. Therefore, when I submitted my second complaint I had high expectations that the Ombudsman would insist that the highway authority fulfil their earlier promise to her and stop attempting to complete the roadway in a manner that had a serious impact on my property.

My expectation were dashed when the Ombudsman, rather than castigating the highway authority for failing to live up to the 1998 promise, attempted to bury the problem by refusing to investigate my second complaint altogether.

This led to a four year battle trying to persuade a very reluctant Local Government Ombudsman to investigate my 2002 complaint. During 2006, following the earlier Ombudsman's retirement, the new Ombudsman agreed to investigate my complaint. I thought this would be a turning point because the issue was quite straight forward, the highway authority could not (and still can't) produce plans to prove that their planned works would not impact on my property and neither could they (and still can't) produce the statutory authority they need to carry out the works. Unfortunately, all the investigator appeared interested in was finding a way out of the problem for the highway authority. Rather proving what Local Government Ombudsman Watch have been asserting ever since they launched their website.

So we have the curious situation of my 1997 complaint concluded by the then LGO on the understanding that the roadway would be completed in a way in which it would not impact on my property and my 2002 complaint being concluded by the current LGO in the full knowledge that the roadway will impact on my property.

Most people are already aware that Local Government Ombudsmen have a predisposition to believe everything a council tells them. What is clear from my case that Local Government Ombudsman also have a predisposition to allow councils to break their promises. If that was not bad enough they also use their position to try and excuse the councils failure to fulfil their earlier promises.
Local Government Ombudsmen, impartial, no chance!

[1] The Ombudsman between 1997 and 2005 was Pat Thomas. Anne Seex replaced her during 2005.

[2] Under delegated powers the highway authority between 1991 and 1998 was Vale Royal Borough Council. During the Ombudsman's initial investigation Cheshire County Council ended the agreement with Vale Royal Borough Council and took over direct responsibility.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Weird Cases: more astonishing delays

It would appear that it's not just Local Government Ombudsmen who take forever to reach a decision on some cases.

In 1823, Lord Eldon was pressed for his decision in Collis v Nott, which he had heard in 1817. He eventually confessed that he “had entirely forgotten it”.

In 1998, Mr Justice Harman resigned after the Court of Appeal had given stinging criticism of his delay in giving a judgment. He ignored counsels’ requests for judgments that were a long time coming. Then things came to a head when, following the case of a Lincolnshire farmer suing a firm of accountants, the judge didn’t give the judgment for over 80 weeks.

During the absurd delay, the farmer’s barrister got so frustrated that he considered taking out life insurance on the judge in case he died before giving judgment. The judge’s attitude was a shocking case of judicial negligence. He eventually ruled, wrongly as it turned out because he’d lost all his trial notes, that the farmer’s claim should fail. And what sort of claim was it that the farmer had brought and which the judge so confidently dismissed with almost no papers and even less memory? Of course, it was a claim in negligence. Click here to read the Times-on-Line story in full

Having read the Times-on-Line article two things spring to mind, should I take out life insurance on the Ombudsman and will they also get the decision wrong in my case?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Suppressed Evidence

Initially most complainants expect Local Government Ombudsmen to present both sides of the issue in a fair and even-handed way. Unfortunately as time goes on most complainants realise that nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the easiest ways to make the Council's position look good and make the complainants position look weak is to suppress any evidence against the Council and any evidence that supports the complainant.

As a result Local Government Ombudsman often commit the fallacy of suppressed evidence by choosing to ignore evidence that is relevant to a complaint. Of course they can't be expected to look at all of the evidence that might conceivably be relevant because that would be an endless task. But they should never neglect evidence that they know about or evidence that seems quite likely to bear on the issue.

For example a 9 inch step!

Unfortunately they often do and therein lies the injustice.

The system

"There is no greater injustice in all the world like knowing you are right and that the wave of the 'system' is wrong, yet the wave crashes upon you."

Good job I can swim like a fish!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

2 years old

My blog, about the Local Government Ombudsman, has been going for over two years and I have made over 275 posts. Fortunately I receive my (Civil Service) pension in July which will enable me to retire early and devote much more of my time and energy to my blog. As a result I should be able to make a much bigger impact on the Local Government Ombudsman than I have done up to now.

This was my first post on May 3rd 2006.

The reason I decided to write and maintain this blog is because I have suffered significant injustice through numerous acts of misfeasance, malfeasance and maladministration by the Local Government Ombudsman's York office. As a result I don't want others to suffer similar injustice.

What follows will be a very long series of postings exploring, in an had hoc way, the tricks the Ombudsman has used against me, the evidence that I have uncovered over the years to support my assertions and a list of everything that I feel is wrong with the Local Government Ombudsmen. I intend to maintain this blog until the Ombudsman does their job or ceases to exist.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Nothing changes



This was one of the first cartoons I commissioned. Note the date, 2006. 2 years later and it's still as valid today as it was then. As long as Local Government Ombudsmen and their staff accept everything a Councils asserts without prudent validation they will rightly remain figures of ridicule.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Petition closes next month

My petition closes next month so if you haven't yet signed it please consider doing so now. Click here to sign my petition or click on the new portal link at the top to review all petitions about UK Ombudsmen. Please tell your friends and relatives.