Sunday, August 31, 2008

Administrative injustice part 1

If you submit a complaint to the York LGO you only have a 0.34% chance of them reporting your complaint as maladministration. Unfortunately navigating your way through their system is no guarantee that you will obtain any sort of remedy for the administrative justice you have suffered.

Over the last 11 years I have managed to navigate my way through their system twice but still haven't obtained a remedy for the administrative injustice I have suffered. The fact that administrative injustice is reported is no guarantee that it will be remedied. Wilma Wright's petition proves that point as does the fact that I am still waiting for the roadway ajacent to my property to be completed without it impacting on my property.

And that is why I have little confidence in the ability of the staff at the Local Government Ombudsman's office in York to identify let alone ensure a remedy for administrative injustice is provided. The bottom line is that the staff at the York office of the Local Government Ombudsman's office haven't got a clue. They are even bringing an investigator in from London to show them how to do their job properly. All this because the York LGO has a policy of believing the unsubstantiated word of a council rather than the rock solid evidence provided by a complainant.

Friday, August 29, 2008

York backlog

I have just been reading the minutes of the Commission for Local Administration in England for the last few years and it would appear that the York office is in crisis. And has been for quite a while. They introduced a special initiative to clear the backlog of old complaints and this could be the reason why they decided to end my complaint without due diligence. Performance targets (and performance related pay) are obviously more important than justice to the York office staff.

Please contact me if you have also recently been stuffed by the York office in an attempt to clear their backlog of old cases to meet performance targets. Did you know investigators get performance related pay? The quicker they turn over cases the more they get paid.
It would appear that the York office staff have realised it's more profitable to stuff a complainant than do their job properly.

Human Rights

The following is an extract from the minutes of a meeting held by the Commission for Local Administration in England (What the ombudsman are officially known as) on the 23rd October 2007.

a) Human rights

Anne Seex asked for an overview on training relating to the ‘who, what and when’. She said it was important to avoid training plan congestion, and to ensure that the crucial matters received priority. Peter MacMahon said there was no progress on human rights training at present, and it was being scheduled for 2008/09.

Now I know why the York office ignored the human rights issues in my case!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Downward trend in complaints to York LGO office.

The following is an extract from the minutes of a meeting held by the Commission for Local Administration in England (What the ombudsman are officially known as) on the 29th January 2008.

Mick King updated the Commission on his and Anne Seex’s researches into possible reasons for the increasing downwards trend in complaints received by the York office (18.7% fewer in the month of December; 10.5% fewer in the past 12 months).

Their researches suggested the following contributory factors:

• The transfers out of authorities -Trafford and Tower Hamlets.

• A steady overall decline in categories of complaint, in contrast to rises in some of the categories in London and Coventry eg complaints about parking and council tax.

• Analysis of the number of complaints received by authority revealed that, of the 10 authorities with the biggest decline in LGO complaints, eight had been the focus of LGO activities such as training and specific YMT initiatives. Mick King did however stress that it was too soon to be certain about this factor and that further research would be needed. He had, however, raised this with Theresa Kimble (York Communications project officer) who had noted a similar trend in other local authorities where training had taken place.

Anne Seex added that a further factor was the continuing transfer of council housing stock to registered social landlords by a number of northern authorities; this could help to explain the decline in the number of housing complaints received by York (which had increased in London and Coventry).

The report was noted by the Commission.

Now here's my suggestion. The real reason why complaints are reducing in York is because they find maladministration in only 34 cases out of every 10,000 complaints submitted. That's 200 times less than the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Even when compared to her fellow Local Government Ombudsmen the difference is still alarming. The Coventry office find maladministration in about 90 cases out of 10,000 whilst the London office find maladministration in about 68 cases out of 10,000.

Why should a complainant use a service which is demonstrably biased against them and fundamentally flawed. If I go into a shop and they short change me I don't go back and I make sure I tell my family and friends. This blog is a by-product of the York office's failure to do their job properly as is the PSOW website (Something that must irritate the hell out of the other two Local Government Ombudsmen). You can't keep conning your customers and expect their friends and family to use your service. I only went back for more to see if the new Ombudsman had made any improvements since my previous complaint. They haven't it's actually got a lot worse. Their staff still believe any old clap trap a council tells them and whilst this continues the York office is doomed. I just hope my blog has played a part in the significant reduction in the number of people submitting complaints to the York office.


The downward trend will only be reversed when people start to trust the York office and that will only happen when the York office investigators are told to stop conning complainants and start doing their job.

Using my case as an example, the York office constantly failed to validate council assertions, ignored evidence to the contrary, manipulated evidence to bolster the councils defence and weaken my case, took into account irrelevant information, failed to take into account relevant information and the list goes on and on.

The bottom line is that they don't meet customer expectations. I expected a fair, transparent and impartial investigation of my complaints and I didn't get it. I got a demonstrably unfair, opaque and biased investigation of my complaint. When an Ombudsman's office refuses to show you the evidence they relied on when reaching their decision you know something is seriously wrong. When an Ombudsman's office ignores your legal and human rights you know something is seriously wrong. When an Ombudsman's office manipulates evidence in favour of the council you know something is seriously wrong. When an Ombudsman's office obfuscates rather than crystalise a complaint you know something is seriously wrong. When an Ombudsman's office gives you misleading information you know something is seriously wrong. And the list goes on and on!

The above minutes also illustrate another significant problem, they always look for an excuse. Anything but admit that they delver an unfair and biased service that doesn't meet their customers expectations. Rule number one in any business 'always listen to the customer' rule number two, 'ignore them at your peril'.

Their own documents even accept that


'The public will only bring their complaints to the LGO (and their advisers recommend use of the service) if the service maintains its reputation for independence, quality and responsiveness to the needs of complainants.'

The problem is they don't deliver the qualities above to ensure the public will continue to use their service. Any pretence to independence is pure spin, Any pretence to quality of service is pure spin, any pretence to responsiveness is pure spin. Customers don't want spin, hype, rhetoric and glossy annual reports, they want their complaint investigated properly!

You cant's keep passing of an old banger of a service as a Rolls Royce service and expect to get away with it for long. Well you could before the Internet arrived but you can't now!

Summary

This was the last paragraph of a recent post I made on the public forum but it sums up the whole fiasco quite nicely. 25th post down that particular thread.

'What we have here is three public authorities[1] making a cluster **** of a simple issue that could have been resolved by the simple expediency of telling me what specific statutory authority allows them to interfere with my property, legal and human rights. If they can answer that question I am not in a position to stop them. So why don't they just tell me? And why after 11 years involvement has the Ombudsman never asked the councils to tell me. For that would resolve the problem one way or another in a stroke.'

After 11 years of obfuscation by all three bodies I am still waiting for an answer to that vital question. If they can provide an answer to that question then why have they waited over 11 years to tell me? If they can't provide an answer to that question then they have clearly been guilty of intimidation and harassment over the last 11 years and that means when it gets to court I can also pursue a claim for punitive damages.
Nemo me impune lacessit: "No one provokes me with impunity."

[1] Vale Royal Borough Council, Cheshire County Council and the Local Government Ombudsman.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Council solicitors don't always know the law.

One would expect a council solicitor to know the law, however, quite often they don't. Click here to see how one particular council solicitor made a complete fool of himself over a simple freedom of information request.

Fortunately the person who submitted the freedom of information request didn't follow in the Local Government Ombudsman's foot steps and just believe the first thing they were told by a council solicitor. Unlike the LGO they stood their ground and the truth was out, the solicitor concerned didn't have a clue about the law.

Told you so! [1]

Over the last few years I repeatedly told the Ombudsman that the plan (the subject of my 2002 complaint), was amongst other things, technically impossible to implement in the way Cheshire County Council was asserting. The County Council plan view was nothing more than an illusion that could never be implemented. All the Ombudsman needed to have done to prove my assertion was ask for a cross sectional view. The Ombudsman failed to do so or even take a cross sectional view into account before reaching their perverse decisions, preferring instead to believe the unsubstantiated assertion of the County Council that the impossible was possible.

As far as I am concerned the fact that the County Council have now ditched those plans prove I was right all along.

Thomas' posts whilst I was on holiday illustrate the need for a cross sectional views to prove whether a plan (2 dimensional) can be implemented or whether it's all just an illusion. Just scroll down for a few more examples.

Dear Mrs Seex

Reference your final report of the 8th August 2008.

We have received a communication from Cheshire County Council today. [Tuesday August 26th]

We were under the impression that this letter would inform us when they intended to carry out the works (the plans of which were the subject of our complaint) together with an apology for the delay. We are entirely surprised to find that the issues investigated by yourself over the last two and a half years have been rendered wholly irrelevant by this latest communication. There is no apology of any sort in this letter. Instead Cheshire County Council have moved the goal posts yet again and sent us two entirely different sets of plans. Both of which impact even further on our property than the original one.

Cheshire County Council have asked us to decide which of these two alternatives is acceptable and made it clear that the work will be carried out regardless of whether our rights are infringed. Cheshire County Council have also made much of the fact that your investigation was forensically carried because it lasted some two and a half years. When the real cause of the delay was their lack of co-operation.

It would appear that all they have done is substitute a plan, which was always technically impossible to implement, to others which are at least technically possible to implement, albeit they have a greater impact on our property. Unfortunately, they have ignored our legal and human rights again and that is totally unacceptable.

In view of this latest turn of events and the seriousness of the matter we would be grateful to receive your comments. We are particularly keen on receiving an answer to the following questions. Were you aware, before you published your final report, that Cheshire County Council was going to substitute the original plan? If so were you aware that their new plans impacted further on our property than the original? In addition, were you aware that they would rely on your findings in an attempt to legitimise anything they intend to do from now on?

Yours sincerely,

Trevor R Nunn

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Moving Goal Posts!

Well here we go again, 11 years (and 2 complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman later) and a county council is still threatening to complete the new road in a way that will have a serious impact on our property. However, there is now a significant and disturbing new twist. The council has now substituted 'new' plans for the ones my earlier complaint and subsequent investigation were based on. These new plans show a much greater interference with my property rights than those on which the Ombudsman based her recent final report.

So much so that the Ombudsman report into my 2001 complaint is now wholly irrelevant because it was clearly based on a false premise (a different plan). We are no longer talking about a metre or so encroachment onto our property or a step of just a few inches". We are now talking about an encroachment of some 5 metres in places or a step of up to 2 feet.

As an example, the Ombudsman spent months trying to prove that my vehicles could get in, and out, of a 1 in 10 gradient and that a land level difference of a few inches would be difficult to prove one way or the other. I Wonder what the Ombudsman would have concluded if they knew about a 2 foot step or a 5 metre encroachment? No wonder the Council were keen to have the Ombudsman's final report based on a plan showing much less of an impact on our property.

Even more disturbing is that the County Council are now using the fact that the Ombudsman didn't find them guilty of maladministration, for trying to implement the original plan, to now argue that this gives them the right to implement a totally different plan, one which has an even greater impact on my property.

News

I returned from holiday this morning and found a card from the post office informing me that a special delivery letter had arrived. Naturally I thought this would be the letter I was told to expect in March 2008 by the Ombudsman from the County Council. Not so, there was no apology for the delay. In fact it was just another disturbing new twist to the story so far. The County Council are no longer planning to carry out the works they have been threatening to carry out for the last 7 years (the one that's the subject of my complaint and the one the Ombudsman has supposedly been investigating for the last few years). They are now threatening to carry out one of two new schemes. Unfortunately, both these have a much greater impact on my property than the previous one. Do I complain to the Ombudsman a third time when they try and carry out the works?

Thanks to Thomas for keeping my blog going whilst I have been on holiday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Manipulating the evidence

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

This illusion shows how easy it is for a Council or a Local Government Ombudsman to manipulate evidence to support their version of reality. Do you think there are 12 people in the picture below? Well the Council and the Ombudsman can manipulate this picture to prove there are 13.
Click here to see how easy it is for them to do it

It's too easy for a Council or Local Government Ombudsman to cut up the evidence, manipulate it and then re-present it to support a perverse decision!

The Truth is anything the person who prepares and presents the evidence wants it to be and therein lies the danger. Public Authorities and the Local Government Ombudsman are both bodies that reach decisions based on evidence they themselves have identified, prepared and presented and that can't be right for that means they are nothing more than a court of star chamber.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Friday, August 22, 2008

si cʾest possible, cʾest fait; impossible? cela se fera.

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

Charles Alexandre de Calonne (1734–1802), appointed finance minister by Louis XVI in 1783: si cʾest possible , cʾest fait; impossible? cela se fera; if a thing is possible, consider it done; the impossible? that will be done.

The US Armed Forces use a more popular version: the difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.

Trevor's case just goes to show how one public authority, the Local Government Ombudsman, will bend over backwards to help their friends and ex colleagues in another public authority, Cheshire County Council, out of their self created difficulties by delaying matters for 11 years until the 'impossible' can be done! Or at least delay matters long enough until an illusion can be created that gives the impression that it can be done.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Administrative justice in England is just an illusion!


Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

The pattern on the left may look as though it is moving but it's all just an illusion. Click here for a more impressive example.

The LGO may appear as though they deliver administrative justice in England but, like the pattern on the left, it's nothing more than an illusion.

Local Government Ombudsmen don't deliver administrative justice in England, on the contrary, they are the reason why it no longer exists.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Plan view V cross section view [2]

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

Anne Seex only relied on a plan view when determining Trevor's complaint and refused to even acknowledge the importance of, let alone take into account, a cross sectional view. When you consider that this is an essential and key piece of evidence it leaves one feeling that the Ombudsmen had some ulterior motive for not investigating Trevor's complaint properly.

Unfortunately, if like the Ombudsman and the house buyers in my previous post Plan view V cross section view [1], you are given only a two dimensional plan view without being given a third dimensional cross sectional view you can misled into believing that a plan is workable when in reality it's nothing but an illusion.

I was originally concerned that the Ombudsman had allowed themselves to be taken in by such a deception but when you also take into account that they didn't bother, even when prompted by Trevor, to take the necessary and prudent step of validating Cheshire County Council's illusionary plans with a cross sectional view you are left with the uneasy feeling that the Ombudsman wasn't interested in the truth. And that is an altogether more serious charge that Local Government Ombudsman will need to address at some point in the future!

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mitigation

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

It's a maxim of law that it's a land owners responsibility to mitigate the impact of anything they do with their land on any adjoining land. For example, if a neighbour decided to lower the level of their land it's clearly their responsibility to mitigate any land level changes. They cannot legally force, or morally expect, an adjoining land owner to accommodate their new land level.

However, this is exactly what the highway authority has been trying to do with Trevor since 1997. They want to increase the land levels on their land but in order to save money they don't want to accommodate these changes on their own land they prefer instead to shuffle their self created difficulties onto Trevor by intimidating him with legal threats into accepting their plans without demur. It was their first threat during 1997 that led to his first complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman and their attempt to carry out the works in 2001 that led to his second complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. Anne Seex has now put Trevor back into the position he was in during 1997 and solely reliant on his legal and human rights.

Ironically Anne Seex has done Trevor a favour because now he can focus on the impending legal and human rights case without being distracted any further by the corrupt LGO system.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why cross sectional plans are always better than photos.

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

The problem with photos is that, unlike cross sectional plans, they don't always tell the truth. Only a fool and the Local Government Ombudsman would rely on photographic evidence when a cross sectional plan showing the reality of the situation is readily available. Click here for an example as to why you shouldn't rely on photographic evidence. [here for another, and another, and another and another]

Thomas. Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Plan view V cross section view [1]

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

Cheshire County Council have always refused to give Trevor a cross sectional view of the planned works. In addition the Ombudsman has always refused to acknowledge the importance of this key document let alone take it into account before arriving at her perverse conclusions. Preferring instead to look only at plan views and photographs.

Here's an example of the danger of relying on plans without a cross sectional view. A number of people decided to buy off plan when this development was being planned. After the houses were completed a number of buyers took legal action against the developer. If you click the link and look at a plan view of the estate it is difficult to perceive just what the problem may be but just look at what many of them had to face when they moved in.

The developer built the houses in an old quarry but gave buyers the impression that they were going to fill it in before they built their houses. If the buyers had insisted on seeing a cross sectional plan they wouldn't have been taken in by the developers deception.















Good job they couldn't complain to the Local Government Ombudsman because all she would have said is what do you want a cross sectional plan for?

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Slight of hand!

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

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'.

So just how did the Local Government Ombudsman find no maladministration when Cheshire County Council actions in 2001 also infringed Trevor's legal and human rights? By simply turning a blind eye to anything that doesn't fit with their preferred conclusions. This is exactly what Anne Seex has done in Trevor's case. A decision she will come to regret once Trevor's response to her final report is published on line.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

[Part 3]

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

Since my earlier posts on the subject Cheshire County Council have been 'playing' with their search engine again. It would appear that they are now trying to cover up the fact they tried to bury the press release about the Ombudsman.

Looks like they are now trying to undo or hide the fact that they tried to bury the embarrassing letter in the first place. Let's see if the letter returns to it's original prominent position after they have stopped playing with their search engine.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

[Part 2] Was the embarrassing letter highlighted by Cheshire County Council because the LGO had decided to investigate Trevor's 2002 complaint?

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

Although Trevor submitted his complaint in March 2002 he didn't receive notification that the Ombudsmen would be investigating his 2002 complaint until May 2006. Between February and May 2006 the Ombudsman was looking seriously at the possibility of coming back on his complaint and opening the investigation.

Cheshire County Council's press release (reproduced in [Part 1]) is dated the 5th May 2004. Yet the Council didn't choose to highlight this particular case on their website until Feb/March 2006. Another coincidence or an attempt to influence the Ombudsman's decision regarding Trevor's complaint? You decide. PS: I think it was and I think it worked.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Friday, August 15, 2008

[Part 1] Was this serious embarrassment to the LGO moved by Cheshire County Council as thanks to the LGO for burying Trevor's 2002 complaints?

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

Over the last couple of years or so if you visited Cheshire County Council's website and searched for the term 'Ombudsman' the first record always returned by their search engine was a case in which the Ombudsman had to apologise about a seriously bodged and flawed investigation. Any reference to that case has recently [within days of the Ombudsman publishing their report into Trevor's 2002 complaints.] been moved from the Cheshire County Council search page to a secondary search wider cheshire results. Was this serious embarrassment to the Ombudsman's office moved to a less prominent position as thanks to the Ombudsman for burying Trevor's 2002 complaints or is it just a coincidence? You decide.

OMBUDSMAN APOLOGISES TO FORMER MAYORS AFTER INVESTIGATION INTO LETTER ‘CLANGER’

Two former Lord Mayors of Chester wrongly accused in an Ombudsman’s letter have received an unreserved apology. An inexplicably ‘leaked’ Letter of Enquiry concerning allegations of maladministration against Chester City Council made inaccurate claims against husband and wife Councillors Graham and Sue Proctor.

It maintained that the Proctors were ‘out of order’ because they had failed to object to a tree felling in a conservation area within the three week consultation period. But the couple – who intervened in an attempt to protect the tree at the request of neighbours, when contractors turned up on site - had not even been told about the application.

Neither the Proctors, nor two other Chester City councillors representing the Vicars Cross Ward, had received any notification from the local authority.And no-one had even informed them that they had been criticised by the investigator. County Councillor Proctor demanded a full investigation into how the preliminary assessment was carried out.

In her reply, Deputy Ombusdman Beryl Bainbridge says that reference to the Proctors being ‘out of order’ was both ‘inappropriate’ and based on information later found to be ‘factually incorrect’. The Deputy Ombudsman has apologised and admits that the letter should not have made any reference at all to Mrs Proctor because she is a County Councillor and not a member of the District Council.

Today (Wednesday) County Councillor Proctor said: “Justice has been done and I am delighted that we have received a full and unreserved apology.

“The report was leaked to the press and as a result we were attacked in letters from political opponents who based their criticism on references in a seven-week-old document which were completely incorrect,” said County Councillor Sue Proctor.“To make matters worse, Chester City Council Chief Executive Paul Durham had actually notified the Ombudsman of the report’s mistake some time before it was leaked to the press.

“All in all, we have been the victims of a ‘clanger’ which has had extremely unfair and unfortunate results.” “This whole affair has been tremendously upsetting to both myself and my family,” said County Councillor Proctor, who returned from holiday to find the inaccurate report ‘leaked’ to the press. “We had been judged and publicly attacked on the basis of incorrect information and without being given the chance to comment either to the Ombudsman’s investigator or Chester City Council.”

Chester City Council’s Chief Executive has subsequently confirmed that the Proctors had not received any prior notification from the City Council about the owner’s proposal to fell the tree.

“The initial view that the Proctors were ‘out of order’ was not based on an accurate understanding of the facts and, in my view, is inaccurate,“ said Mr Durham. “It was the City Council’s actions in respect of the proposal to fell the tree which was being investigated by the Ombudsman – not the involvement of Councillors Graham and Sue Proctor.”

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

A lie by any other name [2]

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

During the investigation Trevor was asked to supply full details of all the vehicles he owned. He complied but also informed the Ombudsman that other vehicles besides the ones in his ownership needed access to his property. Delivery vehicles, friends vehicles, disabled access vehicles etc. Plus access for wheelchairs and a motorised wheelchair/scooter that their friend used. All these would have more difficulty with a gradient and step than his own own vehicles. He was promised that all these would be taken into account. They weren't. Another broken promise or another lie? You decide!

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

A lie by any other name [1]

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday.

During the investigation Trevor was promised that he would have access to, and allowed to controvert, all the evidence on which the Ombudsman would be basing their decisions in the final report. The Ombudsman broke that promise and did not allow him access to any of the documents and plans supplied to her by the council or others. All he was given was a simple chronology of events. Personally Trevor refers to this as yet another broken promise but it looks like a lie to me. What do you think?

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Do not use the Local Government Ombudsman!

Posted by Thomas whilst Trevor is on holiday. If you have a complaint against a local authority don't even consider using the Local Government Ombudsman. The only reason Trevor has been doing so over the last few years is to gather evidence to expose them. Would you use a restaurant more than once if they served you food unfit for human consumption? Would you continue to use a shop if they continually short changed you? Would you stick to the same Doctor if they kept making you ill? Would you go back to a dentist who pulled the wrong teeth? Probably not but what would you do if a relative or friend told you that they had a similar experience? Marketing gurus argue that every person who has a bad experience with an organisation tells on average another nine people, losing the company concerned quite a lot of business. Well we are now telling thousands not to use the Local Government Ombudsman because they continually fail to deliver on their promises.

Facts: The Ombudsman responsible for Trevor's complaint finds maladministration in only 0.34% of all cases submitted to her. That's 34 cases out of every 10,000. The Parliamentary Ombudsman finds and reports maladministration in 68% of all cases submitted to her. 200 times as much. In addition, all three Local Government Ombudsmen are ex council, all Deputy Ombudsmen are ex council, 61% of Assistant Ombudsmen are ex council and 68% of all investigators are all ex council.

Local Government Ombudsmen are not fit for the purpose and should be avoided at all costs. Use them at your peril.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Ombudman caught out again!

Whilst Trevor is on his holidays I am looking after his blog. I noticed that he has received a response to his freedom of information request to Cheshire County Council and decided to publish the information for him. You can read his freedom of information request and reply here.

If you follow the instructions given in the reply you can view their road adoption gazetteer on-line including their on-line mapping service. Here is the evidence to support Trevor's assertions and evidence that the Ombudsman haven't got a clue as to what's going on.

The map [as well as the adoption gazetteer] show the roads in question as unadopted. This is contrary to the Ombudsman's assertion in their reports. Neither can they escape serious criticism because they also assured Mr & Mrs Nunn that they scrutinise everything. More report anomalies to follow. I know Trevor has literally hundreds to publish when he gets back.

Thomas, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers.

Chronology of aditional delay

Trevor is on holiday for a few weeks. He has left me in charge of posting to his blog whilst he is away.

The irony of this situation amuses us greatly.

Email: 10th April 2008

Dear Mrs Seex

Could you please let us know when we can expect the letter from Cheshire County Council that you promised in your email of 31st March 2008.

T R & P V Nunn

Email: 22nd April 2008

Dear Mrs Seex

We still haven't received the promised letter from Cheshire County Council or a response to our email to you of the 10th April regarding this matter. We hope you appreciate the irony of the situation, you promise us a letter from Cheshire County County apologising for their delay and we still haven't received the promised letter. It would appear that we were victims of Cheshire County Council's unfulfilled promises to Mrs Thomas, victims of Cheshire County Council's unfulfilled promises to Mr Hobbs and now victims of Cheshire County Council's unfulfilled promises to you. Again we hope you appreciate the irony of the situation, if Cheshire County Council had fulfilled the promises they made to Mrs Thomas or Mr Hobbs neither you nor us would be in the situation we are today.

TR & PV Nunn

14th August 2008: 136 days and counting since Mr & Mrs Nunn were told by the Local Government Ombudsman to expect an imminent letter from the Council apologising for delay. Will they get another apology for the delay in apologising for the delay? This is longer than the average time the LGO assert they normally take to complete an investigation let alone wait for a letter from a council.

Monday, August 11, 2008

So just who is telling the truth?

The Ombudsman states in her report that, apart from a small section of road adjacent to my property, the roadways on the estate are all adopted. Curious because the Councils own Highways Adoption Gazetteer still shows them as unadopted. In addition, whilst the Ombudsman was 'supposedly' making enquiries, the Council was maintaining the verges and open space on phase 3 of the estate. Prior to that they were being maintained by a developer's contractor, however, now the Ombudsman's report has been published and the 'so called' investigation is over, the developers contractor is back on site maintaining the verges, open spaces and play area on phase 3. Some of the houses on phase 2 and some of the houses on phase 3 should not even be occupied until the open space, play area and highway are under the control of the council.

Here's my attempt to do the LGO's job.

When was the adopted road gazetteer last updated?

Who has started cutting the grass verges, open spaces and play area?

Who is responsible for the play area?

Who is responsible for the open space?

Now I can start the holiday that was so rudely interrupted by the Ombudsman's final report. I might even have some answers when I return.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

NEMO ME IMPVNE LACESSIT

I can't wait to see if the Council now make the same mistake the Local Government Ombudsman has. However, I don't think they will because they have been very careful over the last 7 years not to do so. Therefore, I think I am about to experience the outcome of a little tactical collusion and if I am right the Ombudsman will have even more questions to answer. The Ombudsman's office never ceases to amaze me, why do they always think a complainant is as dumb as they are?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Full circle: The reason for this blog

Since the Ombudsman has taken me full circle and put me back in the position I was in 11 years ago, solely reliant only on my legal and human rights, (which ironically is no bad thing when you realise just how corrupt the administrative justice system has become) I thought I would reproduce my first blog post to refresh peoples minds. Shown below in italics. I made my first post on May 3rd 2006 and this is my 379th since them. Now I have retired I can step up the number of posts and finish uploading all the evidence.

The reason for this blog

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.

The Ombudsman has clearly failed to do their job so they will have to put up with me till they cease to exist. Talk about shooting themselves in the foot! It's amazing what they will do and put up with rather than admit they made a mistake and put it right.

The question is just what good is a Local Government Ombudsman if they can't find a way to resolve a problem after 11 years without colluding with the council concerned?

Message for the Ombudsman and the Council

Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me!

7 fold decrease in reported maladministration

When Pat Thomas (York LGO) issued her report into my first complaint during 1998 the chances of a complainants getting a formal report into their complaint was 2.4%.

Pat Thomas retired in 2005 and was replaced by Anne Seex.

During the 2007/8 reporting year the chance of a complainant getting a formal report into their complaint had plummeted to 0.34%. That's a 7 fold decrease in reported cases of maladministration over the 10 years.

In addition Anne Seex only finds half as much maladministration as her colleague in London and a third as much as the one in Coventry. Lucky for the councils in her area but not so good for the poor old complainants. Just a pity we can't change Ombudsmen like the councils can.

LGO: a stupid system?

LGO investigator: 'Believe me it’s not a stupid system that we run it’s a stupid system that the government has imposed.'

More insightful snippets to come.

Is the Ombudsman really that dumb?

The road adjacent to our property is only 3.5 metres from the wall (the one the ombudsman argues herself is the boundary). The road is also some 500mm higher than my land and drive. (The land and drive that's been there for some 150 years before the new highway came along). The Ombudsman states that the council can construct an access with a gradient not exceeding 1 in 10. Funny when I was at school 3500mm divided by 500mm was 7 and that's before you take account of the necessary drains because of the adverse gradient. If you take the drains into account the best that can be achieved at one side of my drive is less than 1 in 6 not the 1 in 10 promised by the council to the ombudsman.

At the other side of my drive the distance between the road and wall is greater but so is the height of the road. So it still remains about 1 in 6 not the 1 in 10 promised by the council to the ombudsman.

So we either have an Local Government Ombudsman that's not very good at maths, a Local Government Ombudsman that just believes everything a council tells them or a council that can indeed perform miracles.

I'm lucky I already know the answer to that because I will shortly be publishing the transcript of a telephone conversation I had with an Ombudsman's investigator in which they told me that they accept everything a council tells them because there is no reason not to do so!

Ombudsmen, impartial, what do you think? They can't even get of their backsides and come down and measure it themselves or even secure a plan from the council to demonstrate how they are going to achieve the impossible.

Article about the LGO

The Thanet Star has just printed an article about the LGO and is asking local bloggers for help.

You can leave a comment at the bottom of the article.

FOI response 1

To refresh your memory I recently submitted the following Freedom of Information request

'Out of those cases still on record which one has remained undetermined for the longest period of time? What was the reason for the delay? What was the subject of the complaint? Which Ombudsman/Ombudsmen were involved?'

The LGO's response: 'Of the cases that are still on our database, the one that has taken the longest to reach a decision was a case received in August 1992, on which no decision was taken until March 1998. In all, the case was open for 2,036 days'.

Full info here But the question remains as to why my case was not quoted as the longest when it remained undetermined for a significantly longer period than the example given.

It just goes to show that you can't believe anything the Local Government Ombudsman's office tells you.


More info about the LGO

Could this on-line information give us a clue to why Mrs Seex finds less than half as much maladministration as the other Local Government Ombudsmen?

During 1999 she was involved in the unfair dismissal of a member of staff at Lancaster City Council. The tribunal described the investigation by Ann Seex, director of community services at the council, as 'coloured and flawed'.

Anne Seex was in post as Chief Executive of Norwich City Council when they issued over 140,000 non-compliant Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) between 2002 and 2005 (they only corrected theirs in August 2006 issuing £3,416,452.98 worth of non-compliant PCNs 2002 - 2006).

During 2005 she had to apologise when Norwich City Council failed to obtain planning permission. 'Norwich City Council Chief Executive Anne Seex admitted, in a letter sent to all City Councillors and the local media, that the Council had broken planning regulations by not applying for Advertisement Consent for the projections on to the City Hall clock tower.'

In March 2006, the Audit Commission published a highly critical audit letter for Norwich City Council during Mrs Seex' last year as Chief Executive leading to questions about her credibility as an independent and final arbiter on matters of maladministration in local government.

Anne Seex is well know for creative compensation, for example, she awarded a man £1000 towards the cost of a memorial when council maladministration contributed to the death of his mother. Ms Seex said Mrs Stones had been "failed by the system which was supposed to protect her". Looks like Mr Stones was also failed by Anne Seex. £1000, what an insult! What kind of message does that send out to councils.

Anne Seex has also been ditched by Trafford Council for being too negative, 'from April 2007 any cases involving Trafford Council will be dealt with by the ombudsman's office based at Coventry rather than York.'

More interesting facts about the LGO

Local Government Ombudsmen advertise the fact that they are impartial in their investigation of councils. If you knew that
  • 100% of all Local Government Ombudsmen are ex council
  • 100% of all Deputy Ombudsmen are ex council
  • 61% of all Assistant Ombudsmen are ex council
  • 68% of all Investigators are ex council
Would you describe them as impartial? No me neither! You have the chance to vote on this particular issue at the top of this blog.

No wonder they expose so little council maladministration.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Trust me to get the short straw

During the last reporting year complainants like me had the following chance of securing a report of maladministration leading to injustice,

Local Government Ombudsman by Office

Anne Seex York 0.34%
Tony Redmond London 0.68%
Jerry White Coventry 0.9%

Just my luck to get an Ombudsman who practically never reports maladministration!

Just to put the figures it into perspective it mean that Anne Seex issues less than 3.5 reports of maladministration out of every 1000 complaints submitted to her. Nearly 3 times less than the Coventry Ombudsman and half the average for all three Ombudsmen. Wow! and I thought it was tough to get into mensa.

However, if I am one of the lucky 0.34%, why am I so unhappy? Because she has buried most of my complaints in her obfuscated report and only found the council guilty of maladministration on a minor and inconsequential point. Exactly what the previous Ombudsman did in 1998.

The administrative justice game: Rule number 1, if you throw an LGO start again

I submitted my first complaint in 1997 because the Borough Council threatened to carry out some works which would have impacted on my property rights. Unfortunately even though I obtained a finding of maladministration for one of my minor complaints, the then Ombudsman asserted in her report that because they had only 'threatened' to carry out the work she couldn't find them guilty of a more serious act of maladministration. However, there was evidence available and she even gave me an assurance me she would take it into account. Unfortunately when the final report arrived it was clear she had just ignored it.

I was going to submit a second complaint in 2001 because the County Council threatened to do the same. However, I didn't want the Ombudsman to use the same trick to save the Council from a more serious finding of maladministration again. Therefore, I decided to wait until they had done substantially more than just threaten me. They did this in 2001 when they attempted to complete the roadway in such a way they would impact on my property. I stopped the work and submitted a second complaint to the Ombudsman during 2002.

On both occasions they refused to give me a full set of plans (and they still do) so I could take independent advice and on both occasion they also refused to tell me what statutory power they were relying on (and they still do) to carry out the works. At the material time the road was not a highway so their powers were limited. In addition on both occasions they failed to obtain planning permission. On this occasion the Ombudsman assured me that I would be allowed to see all the evidence she took into account when reaching a decision but later refused to give me access to any of the evidence. Just as they had done in my first complaint they found the Council guilty of maladministration for a minor act of maladministration whilst using every trick in the book to evade having to find the Council guilty of a more serious act of maladministration.

After 11 years of Ombudsman involvement in my case I am now back in the position I was in 1997 and solely reliant on my legal and human rights. However, that's not a bad thing because at least the Local Government Ombudsman is no longer in a position to manipulate the evidence any more.

Ironically, I am now in a position to submit a third complaint should the Council attempt to carry out the works without;
  1. proper planning permission
  2. giving me a full set of plans
  3. telling me what specific statutory power they rely on to carry out the works.
But I have more than enough evidence against the Local Government Ombudsman to prove my point so this time round I will stick to the courts. At least they won't be able to deny me the right to see the evidence as Local Government Ombudsmen do.

Therefore, my plan now is to use all the documentary evidence I have collected over the last few years to expose every single devious tactics used by the Local Government Ombudsman to block, divert or destroy valid complaints so they can bury significant amounts of maladministration for their friends and ex colleagues in local government.

The game is not over for me but the game is up for the LGO!

Ombudsman publishes final report

At long last after an epic 11 year involvement the Local Government Ombudsman has now published her final report into my second (2002) complaint. Just a pity the Ombudsman has left me in the same position I was in before they became involved. What a waste of 11 years. Therefore, I am now free to do what I have planned to do for the last few years. Use the report as a vehicle to expose Local Government Ombudsmen whilst relying on my legal and human rights to protect my property interests. For it's now obvious that one can't rely on the Local Government Ombudsman. My detailed response will follow after I have received the promised communication from Cheshire County Council.

Funny how the report landed on the mat the same day I was due to start my holidays. Looks like I will have to postpone my holiday for a while.

Friday, August 01, 2008

FOI request about delay

I have just submitted the following Freedom of Information request to the Local Government Ombudsmen.

'Over the last ten years, how many complainants have died after submitting a complaint but before their complaint had been determined by one of the Ombudsmen?

Clarification: by determined I mean, to make a decision about their complaint and categorised it as maladministration/no maladministration or any other of the categories you use for statistical purposes'.

Let's see what their answer is before I make any further comment in the upside of delay 5!

More in a few weeks when I return from my holidays.