Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seex' law 5

Seex's fifth law: When you're unaccountable you can ignore normal things like fairness, natural justice and the truth.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Local Government Ombudsmen are the problem not the cure!

The problem: The Commission for Local Administration in England, better known as the The Local Government Ombudsman is a demonstrably flawed system of administrative justice that has been further corrupted by the incessant recruitment of ex local authority staff who clearly run the system for the benefit of their friends and ex colleagues who still work in local authorities.

The cure: There is no cure, the system has been fatally corrupted. The only solution is to avoid them like the plague. This is exactly what you would do if any business short changed you or continually delivered faulty goods, failed to deliver on their promises and lied to you.

The alternatives: In many cases you may be able to self abate and/or use the courts to protect your legal and/or human rights (As I am just about to prove you can.). If not you would be much better off exposing the problem locally than trying to use the Local Government Ombudsman, for all they will do is try and bury the problem for the benefit of their friends and ex colleagues.

Do not accept a flawed, corrupt and third rate administrative justice system. Expose the problem, the flaws, the corrupt system and do everything you can to highlight the problem in order to force the government to introduce a fair, open and honest system of administrative justice in England.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

17 years and counting

During 1991, 17 years ago, I told the council that the developer was constructing the new roadway in the wrong position and too close to my property for it to be completed without it impacting on my property and that was something I did not want and would not allow. Rather than resolve the problem then and get the developer to move the road they ignored my warning and let the developer continue to build and sell houses. The developer was in breach of the road adoption agreement during 1994 but they still gave them planning permission to start phase 2. Even worse they had no road adoption agreement on this phase at all.

The council only started to get worried when the developer went bust leaving an unfinished and unadopted road. During 1997 they offered me a step at the boundary of my property or a ramp on my land. I refused both pointing out that they had not only caused the problem due to their failure to enforce planning breaches they had also ignored my repeated warnings. After the first LGO investigation they promised the then LGO that they would move the road in order to resolve the problem.

However, after they planned and costed the work they decided not to bother and attempted to complete the works during 2001 by constructing a ramp on my land instead. I self abated and complained to the LGO naively thinking that she would find the council guilty for not fulfilling their earlier promise. Unfortunately the current LGO now thinks that I should allow the council to complete the roadway in a way that impacts on my property in order to get them out of their self created difficulties on the cheap. My question is why should I? As the victim in all this why should I go out of my way to help the council, when all they have done over the last 11 years is attempt to threaten and intimate me into allowing them to complete the works without demur. This was a huge mistake on their part because although I am sympathetic to open and honest negotiation I will not tolerate threats and intimidation of any kind.

Why did Vale Royal Borough Council allow the developer to continue building and selling houses long after they knew about the problem? Why are they still reluctant to enforce planning obligations on phase two and three of the site? There are two separate section 106 planning obligations that stipulate that a number of houses on phase two and phase three of the site should not be occupied until the open space and play area have been transferred to the council. 12 years after the developer built and sold all the houses on phase 2 and 7 years after another developer built and sold all the houses on phase three, the play area and open space have still not been transferred to the council and no enforcement action has been taken.

In addition. why is a developer still cutting the verges on an adopted part of the road whilst the council are cutting the verges on an unadopted part of the road? And why does the LGO assert that except for a small section of road adjacent to my property the other roads on the development are adopted when Cheshire County Council's own road adoption gazetteer show them as unadopted. Why did Cheshire County Council return the £50 definative statement fee when I asked for the adoption status of the road rather than supply me with a definitive statement? Why has the LGO repeatedly misinformed and mislead me? Why did the LGO manipulate the expert evidence? Why has the LGO refused to give me a copy of most of the evidence given to them by Cheshire County Council. Why am I having to complain to the Information Commissioner because Cheshire County Council won't give me a copy of the information they gave the LGO? And the list goes on and on.....

As far as I am concerned something stinks in the planning enforcement office at Vale Royal Borough Council, the highway and legal departments of Cheshire County Council and the Local Government Ombudsman's office and I smell one big cover up. Either that or the people involved are the most incompetent public servants of all time. Confusion or collusion? You decide.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Apology arrived (at last)

When I rang home tonight my wife informed me that the promised apology from Cheshire County Council had arrived at last. Sent in a plain brown envelope, what's all that about? It took 177 days to arrive after the Ombudsman told me to expect it imminently.

Now all we need to know is when to book the JCB to remove the planned step!!! That's the STEP that the Ombudsman conveniently ignored during her investigation. The one that will infringe our legal and human rights.

Define STEP: a construction designed to bridge a vertical distance, an interference to a vehicular right of way, an impossible structure for a wheelchair or motorised disability scooter to negotiate unaided, something a Local Government Ombudsman will ignore if it helps the council.

Below is a plan view similar to the one provided by Cheshire County Council.

Below is a cross sectional view of the same plan. Note how a plan view can't show a change in vertical levels but a cross sectional plan can. Cheshire County Council refused to supply a copy of the cross sectional plan that my complaint was based on and still refuse to supply a copy of a cross sectional plan for option C. The plan they threaten to implement if I don't agree to plan A or B.

This is basically what plan A and B offer by the way of a solution. A 5 metre (or thereabouts) ramp on my land.

Below is what the developer should have provided and what the council actually planned to do after the Ombudsman's first report. (This is the plan they produced when they promised the then Ombudsman that the road would be completed without any impact on my property.) Until of course Cheshire County Council costed it out and realises that it would be easier and cheaper to stuff me with their problem instead of moving the road.


It's not rocket science but it's enough to confuse the Local Government Ombudsmen. But then the truth usually does when they need to protect their ex colleagues and friends still in local government! Confusion or collusion? You decide.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DIY LGO (3)

Further to my previous posts DIY LGO and DIY LGO (2)

The LGO and the Councils often conspire to hide the truth as well as to bury maladministration. Therefore, you should never accept any of their assertions without validation, never stop investigating the matter yourself and never stop collecting evidence.

The statute law database is an excellent research tool. As is the What Do they Know freedom of information website. Here is a link to my submissions through their website. Another useful service is the Information Commissioner's Office, here you can find out about your rights when it comes to personal information held by organisations and more about your rights when it comes to freedom of information. In addition there are a number of websites that can help you such as LGOwatch, Public Service Ombudsman Watchers, The public forum where you can make contact with others that have suffered due to the corrupt system of administrative justice in England, Rotten Borough that hosts stories about rotten councils, the Human Rights Act, a little case law, Advice if you wish to be a litigant in person, Liberty, and the list of help and advice goes on and on.

Public authorities haven't yet realised it but the Internet is the great equaliser and is bringing power to the people whether they like it or not. Why not start your own blog and tell the world about your experience with your own council. Or the Local Government Ombudsman like this blog.

Complaint sent to the Information Commissioner.

I submitted three Freedom of Information requests on the 13th August to Vale Royal Borough Council using the new What Do They Know website. I have failed to get a response within the statutory 20 working days. In addition they are unnecessary delaying matters even further by wrongly suggesting that they need information from other parties to answer my query.

During 2005 I received the information requested without any of this nonsense. Therefore, I would like to submit a complaint about the way in which Vale Royal Borough Council have been delaying giving me the information requested.

The following links provide all the information necessary.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cu...

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/st...

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/st...

LGO the myths exploded (3)

Local Government Ombudsmen are an alternative to court.

Unfortunately this is just a myth The fact is in most cases they aren't and because of they way they operate they can actually be a positive hindrance to people seeking justice.

Fact: The LGO cannot determine any of your legal or human rights.

Fact: A council can be found not guilty of maladministration even if they are guilty of infringing your legal and human rights. That would and could not happen in a court of law.

Fact: The LGO take so long to investigate a complaint most complainants are statute barred from taking court action for an infringements of their legal and/or human rights.

Fact: An LGO report/determination finding no maladministration, even if there are legal and/or human rights implications, is often used by the council to defend their illegal acts.

Fact: The LGO often fail to explain to a complainant the options available to them and the severe limitations of their service.

Fact: The LGO fail to explain to a council in their reports that a finding of no maladministration does not necessarily mean that their actions are also legal and/or compliant with the Human Rights Act.

Fact: The LGO operate in a way that positively hinders administrative justice in England.

Opinion: The only thing the LGO are an alternative to is a laxative.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Damp squib

England has invented a new missile. It's called a Local Government Ombudsman. It doesn't work and it can't be fired.

LGO the myths exploded (2)

Local Government Ombudsmen and their staff know what they are doing.
Unfortunately this is just a myth The fact is in many cases they don't. They simply do not have the technical skills or knowledge necessary to understand let alone correctly determine many of the complaints submitted to them. The only experience the Ombudsmen and the majority of their staff have is working for a public authority that has itself been found guilty of maladministration. The administrative justice system in England is run by poachers turned gamekeepers for the benefit of their friends and ex colleagues who are still poachers.

Seex' law 4

Seex's fourth law: When the going gets tough, make yourself scarce.

Putting the DEMO(lition) back into democracy!

'Personally I think that private property has a right to be defended. Our civilisation is built up on property, and can only be defended by private property.' Winston Churchill, 11 August 1947

Friday, September 19, 2008

So just who is telling the truth? (2)

Even Government ministers can't get their facts right when it comes to Local Government Ombudsmen and Local Government maladministration.

Question

Bob Neill
(Shadow Minister, Communities and Local Government; Bromley & Chislehurst, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many complaints of maladministration upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman resulted in a formal ruling that was not implemented by the local authority in question in each year since 1997-98; and to which local authorities such rulings related.
John Healey (Minister of State (Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government; Wentworth, Labour) |
Where the Local Government Ombudsman finds maladministration that has caused injustice, a report is issued that includes recommendations for a remedy for the complainant, with around a 100 reports issued annually.
Authorities who have failed to provide satisfactory remedies
Year of issue of report Authority
1997-98 Mid Suffolk DC

Salford City C

Walsall MBC


1998-99 None


1999-2000 Newark and Sherwood DC

Basildon DC

Sefton MBC

Click here to visit the 'They Work For You' Website to read the full answer.

Then scroll down to read all the comments. Mine are also reproduced below

(Comment 1) The answer is incomplete. For example during 1998 the Local Government Ombudsman based in York found my local Council, Vale Royal Borough Council, guilty of maladministration and recommended a remedy. Vale Royal promised the Ombudsman during January 1999 that the roadway adjacent to my property would be completed without any impact on my property. The roadway has still not been completed and now Cheshire County Council are threatening to do what Vale Royal threatened to do in 1997 and complete the roadway in a way that will impact on my property. A 2 foot step across my vehicular access could hardly be described as having no impact.

So please get your facts right. Complainants are sick and tired of government spin pretending everything in the LGO garden is rosy. The system of administrative justice in England is corrupt and it's about time something was done about it.

(Comment 2) This is an extract from Trafford Council's response to a freedom of information request.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/local_government_ombud...

a) Our records go back to 2001. In the last seven years there have been five findings of maladministration against Trafford Council by the Local Government Ombudsman

b) In four of the cases, the Council did not accept the finding in full or in part. [Curiously they are only listed once in the minister's answer.]

(Comment 3) John Healey states: Where the Local Government Ombudsman finds maladministration that has caused injustice, a report is issued that includes recommendations for a remedy for the complainant, with around a 100 reports issued annually.

That is simply not true. In the vast majority of cases where maladministration if found by a Local Government Ombudsman they locally settle it with the council concerned. The complainant has no say in the matter but the council is allowed to buy off a reported finding of maladministration for a few hundred pounds whilst the Ombudsman saves time and effort because they don't need to write a report. The only person to suffer is the complainant. And of course citizens in general because local settlements are nothing more than a devious way of burying local government maladministration. Therefore, local citizens don't really know just how bad their local councils are.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Radio Ga Ga (update)

Further to my previous post Radio Ga Ga

Following further investigation it appears that Mrs Seex, York Local Government Ombudsman, misled listeners when she suggested it was rare for a council to ignore an Ombudsman.

This is an extract from Trafford Council's response to a freedom of information request.

a) Our records go back to 2001. In the last seven years there have been five findings of maladministration against Trafford Council by the Local Government Ombudsman

b) In four of the cases, the Council did not accept the finding in full or in part.

So we have Trafford Council, the council also asked to take part in the radio programme, admitting that they ignore the Ombudsman, in full or in part, 80% of the time whilst the Ombudsman told listeners it was rare for a council to ignore an ombudsman. Up to now we have also identified about 20 other councils that have also ignored the ombudsman.

The York LGO only produced about 20 reports this last reporting year and at least 20% of those were ignored in full or in part by the councils concerned.

[A lie is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement with the intention to deceive, often with the further intention to maintain a secret or reputation, ...]

LGO the myths exploded (1)

You will find the following information on the Local Government Ombudsman's home page.
It is an independent, impartial and free service.
Unfortunately this is just a myth[1] The fact is that they do not provide an independent, impartial and free service.
  • 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
In addition they cost the taxpayer over £12million pounds a year.

[We say that such and such is a myth when the term "urban legend" or outright lie might be better.]

So just who is telling the truth? Another update!

Further to my previous post: So just who is telling the truth? An update.

Some of the houses on phase 2 and phase 3 of the development in question should not have been occupied until the open space, play area and highway were under the control of the council. The developer has been in breach of planing permission and a section 106 agreement for over 7 years. In addition this is not the first time I have attempted to bring this matter to the attention of Vale Royal Borough Council. The last time I was told (bear in mind that the people occupying the restricted houses had been paying council tax to Vale Royal Borough Council since 2001 when the developer left the site) that they had no way of knowing if any of the houses were occupied. They even suggested that it was up to the developer to bring any planning breaches to their attention.

Here's my recent Freedom of Information requests in an attempt to find out the truth.

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?

And this is the response I received on the 16th September 2008. Don't forget the developer completed and sold all the houses on the site over 7 years ago.

With regard to why these areas have remained with the developer, our Head of Streetscene needs to do some further investigation as any officers dealing with that site have since left the Authority. I have asked the Head of Service to let me have his reply as soon as possible and I will in turn ensure that you are informed without delay.

In the meantime, you have also asked who cut the grass on the highway verge, play area and open space between Firtree Close and Linwood and why. I have spoken to our Streetcare Manager and he has confirmed that his officers have not carried out this work. He does not know who did, but his operatives have reported seeing what they assumed was a contractor maintaining the grass in that area. [my emphasis]

I hope the above information is helpful. I will write again as soon as I have further information for you.

I have submitted another Freedom of Iiformation request in an attempt to get to the truth.

I would like to know why a developer's private contractor rather than Vale Royal Borough Council is cutting the highway verges on an adopted part of Rookery Rise. More particularly the part of Rookery Rise between Firtree Close and Linwood Winsford.

I would also like to know why Vale Royal Borough Council is cutting the verges on an unadopted part of Rookery Rise. More particularly the part of Rookery Rise between Beechfields and Fernway.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Seex' law 3

Seex' third law: If a particular piece of evidence doesn't fit your preferred conclusion just ignore it. (Even if it's a promise to another ombudsman.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Seex' law 2

Human rights Act: Article 1 of the first protocol 1

This Convention right provides that every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

An interference with property must also satisfy the requirements of legal certainty. In other words, there must be a law which permits the interference and that law must be sufficiently certain and accessible. There must also be procedural safeguards against arbitrary State decisions.

For over 8 years the Cheshire County Council has refused to tell me which specific statutory authority (law) gave them to power to implement the plan, which was the subject of my complaint to the York LGO, without my agreement.

Recently I also asked Cheshire County Council
which specific statutory authority (law) gave them the power to implement option C without my agreement, once again they declined to answer my question.

By any stretch of the imagination that is wrong wrong wrong, for they are denying me the right to challenge the statutory authority (law) on which they rely by simply refusing to tell me what it is.

Whether the law in question eventually favours me or Cheshire County Council is clearly a matter for a judge to decide, however, Cheshire County Council's refusal to give me the information requested is a clear and unequivocal act of maladministration.

Unless of course Mrs Seex, the York LGO is involved because she doesn't think a council refusing to tell you which statutory authority they are relying on is anything to be concerned about. The corollary of this defines Seex' second law: A Council can infringe a citizen's legal or human rights rights and deny them the right to challenge any interference by the simple ruse of refusing to tell the citizen concerned which specific statutory authority (law) they are relying on to legitimise their actions.

Seex' Law

Further to my earlier post it appears that Mrs Seex has introduced a new legal excuse for a threat.

Cheshire County Council have given me a choice of A or B with the threat of C [1] should I refuse to accept A or B.

However, the York LGO, Anne Seex, doesn't accept it's a threat, as far as she is concerned Cheshire County Council are merely informing me of what they are going to do should I refuse to accept A or B.

Therefore, if you are ever accused of threatening behaviour just use Seex' law as your defence. For example, 'I didn't threaten to hit the person who wouldn't give me their wallet, I was merely informing them of what I was going to do if they didn't give it to me.'

1) The Council has recently refused to tell me what specific statutory authority allows them to implement option C. Over the last 8 years the Council has also been refusing to tell me what specific statutory authority allowed them to implement the plan which was the subject of my complaint. The Ombudsman may find it convenient to turn a blind eye to their refusal to give me the information requested but I certainly don't. Please refer to Seex' law 2 for further information.

Process V Merit

The LGO cannot determine any of your civil rights, they can only look for maladministration. A council can infringe your civil rights and still be found not guilty of maladministration by the LGO.

All the council has to do is mislead the LGO. For example, if they state they have taken legal advice on the subject under investigation the LGO cannot question the validity of the advice nor find them guilty of maladministration. It's a neat trick and often used by a council because it moves the argument out of 'the process of making a decision arena', which is LGO territory, into 'the merits of a decision arena', which is outside the LGO's jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, this is where the majority of complainants give up. They accept the LGO's findings as final when they are not. A council can be found not guilty of maladministration but still be found guilty of breaching your civil rights. If you go to court the legal issues the ombudsman could not determine can and will be addressed. This is where the trick can be exposed, for a Judge can and will determine your civil rights and decide whether the council is guilty of infringing them. For they look at the legality of a council's actions rather than at the process or merits of their decisions.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

LGO York: Dominant, servient or just downright incompetent?

A parcel of land where an appurtenant easement runs is known as a servient tenement; the neighbouring parcel that benefits from this easement is known as the dominant tenement.

Dominant Tenement: The property which enjoys the benefit of an easement over another property (known as the servient tenement). My property is the dominant tenement (My property has existed for about 150 years and has a legal right of way for any and all purposes over the servient tenement.)

Servient tenement: The land which suffers or has the burden of an easement. The land on which Cheshire County Council are trying to complete a roadway which if completed as planned will interfere with my legal right of way and my human rights to the quiet enjoyment of my property. The beneficiary of the easement is called a dominant tenement. refer to dominant tenement above.

Incompetent: Bungling: showing lack of skill or aptitude. A Local Government Ombudsman who doesn't appear to know their dominant tenements from their servient tenements. Please refer to my earlier post Varying a Private right of way for more details.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Varying a private right of way

The owner of the servient tenement (Cheshire County Council) is entitled to develop their own land, however, this can come into conflict with their neighbour's (me) overriding interest, ie. a right of way.

It may be possible, bearing in mind the configuration of the land in the servient tenement, to redefine the right of way along a new route. This has to be negotiated with the owner of the dominant tenement (me).

What Cheshire County Council should have done is negotiate with me to redefine my right of way. Unfortunately they have never attempted to do this preferring to use threats and intimidation in an attempt to achieve their objective at zero cost.

At the moment they are offering me a choice of two redefined rights of way, however, this is clearly not a negotiation (or a consultation as they and the LGO call it) because they are also threatening to block my right of way with a step (infringe my right of way and [because they are a public authority] also my human rights to the quiet enjoyment of my property) should I refuse to accept their plans for a redefined right of way. As far as I am concerned this is just another attempt to threaten and intimidate me into accepting a redefined right of way that suits them rather than me.

This is the third time they have attempted to do this and on all three occasions they have refused to supply either full and proper plans of what they are threatening to do or the specific statutory authority that allows them to interfere with my legal and human rights.

The LGO have been involved twice, Pat Thomas, the then York LGO), appeared to understand the issue because she eventually secured a promise from the council that the roadway would be completed in a way that would have no impact on my land. Unfortunately Anne Seex, the current LGO, doesn't appear to have a clue because not only did she fail to crystallise the issue she went out of her way to obfuscate it in an attempt to draw attention away from her perverse findings.

We are now in the ridiculous situation where Pat Thomas ended her involvement with my case on the understanding that the roadway would be completed
that the roadway would be completed without any impact on my property whilst Anne Seex has just ended her involvement knowing that when completed the roadway will impact on my land.

Just what good are these incompetent amateurs, who refer to themselves as Local Government Ombudsmen, if they can't take our legal and human rights
into account?

Friday, September 12, 2008

LGO: The flaws exposed 5

FLAW NUMBER 5: Local Government Ombudsmen do not keep adequate records.

The following is an example but there are many more.

This is the Freedom of Information request I sent the Local Government Ombudsman on the 23rd July 2008.

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?

This was the Local Government Ombudsman'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.

The file has long since been destroyed, so the reason for the delay is no longer on record. The complaint was about Managing Tenancies. The complaint was handled by the London office,and for most of the period concerned the Ombudsman was Sir Edward Osmotherly. Before 1993, the Ombudsman was Sir David Yardley.

I responded with the following question.

Why was my case excluded. It exceeds the one you quoted by some 268 days?

The actual figure is much longer than 268 days for two reasons. My complaint was not determined until 8th August 2008 some weeks after my question was asked. In addition, I only went back to my second complaint (March 2002) although my case has been ongoing since June 1997.

The LGO final response.

I have answered your FOI request correctly according to the records on our database.

My Final response.

I accept you have answered my FOI request according to the records on your database. It's just a shame the records on your database are incomplete and as such not fit for the purpose.

As a result, I see no point in anyone submitting a Freedom of Information request to the Local Government Ombudsman's office whilst you rely on a database that is clearly incomplete and out of date.

I thought that this was a Freedom of Information issue and that's why I tried to bring it to your attention, however, I now accept your assurance that the inaccuracy of the database which you use to supply Freedom of Information responses is not a Freedom of Information issue and will try an alternative means of bringing this problem to someone's attention.

LGO: The flaws exposed 4

FLAW NUMBER 4: The system of administrative justice in England allows the public authority found guilty of maladministration to reject any findings of maladministration. (Please do not confuse this with flaw number 2 which deals with recommendations rather than findings.)

A recent Freedom of Information request to Trafford Council provides an example.

Trafford Council response to the above request includes the following statements. In the last seven years there have been five findings of maladministration against Trafford Council by the Local Government Ombudsman. In four of the cases, the Council did not accept the finding in full or in part. [My emphasis]

Unfortunately the LGO compounds this flaw by failing to inform complainants clearly and concisely about this serious deficiency. The reason they do this is because they don't want the general public to realise that the administrative justice system currently operating in England is just a worthless sham.

Lord Matt on the Local Government Ombudsman.

Lord Matt has some interesting information about Local Government Ombudsmen on his blog. Well worth a visit.

LGO: The flaws exposed 3

FLAW NUMBER 3: The LGO don't feel the need to validate information supplied by a council. As one naive investigator told me they have no reason to question the word of a council because they don't believe a council would mislead them.

For evidence of this flaw please refer to my previous post. I will be supplying many more examples in my response to the York LGO's final report into my complaint.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So just who is telling the truth? An update!

Further to my earlier post 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. Here's my Freedom of Information request to find out the truth. When was the adopted road gazetteer last updated? It has been updated since I submitted the FOI request and the following extracts prove my point.

This picture shows an extract of the on-line gazetteer just before I submitted my FOI request.



This picture shows an extract of the on-line gazetteer after my FOI request was answered.


It is obvious that the gazetteer has been recently updated but even the recent update still shows the roads as unadopted. So my question is still valid, just who is telling the truth, the Council or the Ombudsman?

In addition, some of the houses on phase 2 and 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 Freedom of Information requests in an attempt to find out the truth.

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?

Vale Royal Borough Council are guilty of breaching the law by failing to respond to my Freedom of Information requests within the prescribed 20 days. I have warned them that if they don't respond within the next 5 days I will submit a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

UPDATE: I have now had a response. Vale Royal Borough Council state, 'we are awaiting confirmation from the Land Registry to enable us to accurately answer your questions and we therefore need a little extra time.'

LGO: The flaws exposed 2

FLAW NUMBER 2: The system of administrative justice in England allows the public authority found guilty of maladministration to ignore any recommendations to put the person who suffered injustice back in the position they were before the maladministration took place.

Trafford council and Wilma Wrights petition is an excellent example of this flaw.

Clearly the system of administrative justice in England is impotent.

A growing number of councils are now exploiting this flaw. Trafford have already used it twice.

Unfortunately the LGO compounds this flaw by failing to inform complainants clearly and concisely about this serious deficiency. The reason they do this is because they don't want the general public to realise that the administrative justice system currently operating in England is just a worthless sham.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LGO: The flaws exposed 1

FLAW NUMBER 1: The system of administrative justice in England allows the public authority under investigation to lie their way out of an investigation or at least seriously limit the investigation to minor and inconsequential points.
During a recent clash between a council and the ombudsman the following comments were made.

Councillor: John Bevan, cabinet member for housing, said: ‘It is not the ombudsman’s role to second-guess councils’ interpretation of the law in complex areas like homelessness.
‘The ombudsman’s remit is administration, not legal interpretation, and in this case he is clearly overstepping the mark.’
LGO: Mr Redmond stood by his report. He said: ‘There is no clear record of what decisions the council took or why it took them, and this is why there was a finding of maladministration.’

This exchange highlights one of the fundamental flaws in the current system of administrative justice in England. I am not suggesting for one minute that this particular council exploited this flaw but their comments do highlight what it is.

All an unscrupulous council has to do, to avoid a serious finding of maladministration, is tell the ombudsman there are 'legal' issues involved. Whether it's true or not is irrelevant because this manoeuvre effectively castrates the ombudsman leaving them with little choice but to restrict any further investigation to minor and inconsequential administrative errors such as delay or failure to keep records. The system is such that a councils can 'manipulate' the complaint to become a legal issue or even manufacture a legal issue out of thin air. Either way it stops the LGO dead in their tracks.

Here is a hypothetical example:

A council infringes your legal and/or human rights. You complain to the LGO. The council states it took legal advice on the subject and as far as they are concerned they didn't interfere with your legal and/or human rights. LGO cannot find them guilty of maladministration even if they know the council interfered with your legal and or/human rights. The best the LGO can do is identify a minor administrative error such as delay and report on it.

Unfortunately the LGO compounds this flaw by failing to inform complainants clearly and concisely about this serious deficiency in their ability to fully investigate complaints. The reason they do this is because they don't want the general public to realise that the administrative justice system currently operating in England is just a worthless sham.

False dilemmas, threats and increasing costs.

A false dilemma is the fallacious argument used by Cheshire County Council when they imply there are only a limited number of alternatives to resolve their problems, when in fact there are many more. Threatening me is just a tactic used by Cheshire County Council in an attempt to get me to accept their false dilemma.

For example their argument goes like this, accept A or B or we'll have no option but to do C. This is an obvious false dilemma backed up with a threat.

Why should I accept A, a ramp on my land, or in the alternative B, a slightly different ramp on my land under the threat of C, a step at the boundary of my property just to get them out of their self created difficulties. If they have a problem they should resolve it without resorting to legalistic threats and intimidation in an attempt to get me to accept their plans without demur.

I am sure they wouldn't allow me to shuffle my problems off onto them to save money so why should I allow them to shuffle their self created difficulties off onto me just so they can save money.

If they need me to accept an infringement of my rights or a ramp on my land so they can finish the roadway to adoptable standards the last thing the council should be doing at this moment in time is trying to threaten and intimidate me. For all that's going to do is increase the eventual cost.

This problem could have been resolved legally in 1999 if they had accepted my offer to sell them the land necessary to complete the roadway without infringing any of my rights. For fun let's call that option D. They refused that option so they will just have to suffer the consequences, let's call that option E. They could even throw some money at me, let's call that option F. They could even try their luck in court, let's call that option G. They could even leave things as they are, let's call that option H (This is the option they chose for the last 7 years). They could even move the road, that's the option they originally went with up until 2001 (they dropped that option when they realised the costs involved), let's call that option I. They could even carry on pretending they can do the impossible and complete the highway to adoptable standards without infringing any of my rights, (the only problem is that they are already on record admitting they can't and they have never produced a plan to prove they can, hence the threat of option C without any supporting plans and there reluctance to let me see a cross section of the original plans). let's call that option J. They could even come clean and admit they can't resolve their problem without my help and start to resolve the problem amicably, let's call that option K. They could try and compulsorily purchase my land, for if they have the powers to force me to accept an infringement of my rights they must surely have the power of compulsorily purchase. Let's call that option L.

They could even read the proposal I sent them in 2002 asking them to review all the options available to them and then come back to me with a lawful and amicable solution. Ironically, I am still waiting for a response to that proposal. Let's call that option M. They could even do as Vale Royal Borough Council promised the Ombudsman they would do in 1999 and complete the works without any impact on my property. Let's call that option N. They could even attempt to collude with, or mislead, the Ombudsman in an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Let's call that option O. The list of available option to them goes on and on so why should I accept A or B when I can get 'much more' out of the alternatives.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The overlap of wrongful acts 2.

Further to my earlier post, the overlap of wrongful acts I decided to submit a Freedom of Information request to find out how many times the LGO has actually identified anything more serious that simple maladministration.

Pre question clarification: A complaint against a council may consist purely on an administrative error or it may also include a potentially criminal act and/or infringements of a complainants civil rights (legal and/or human rights).

Therefore, I would like the following information. As a percentage of total complaints submitted to the LGO during the last full reporting year how many complaints were identified by the LGO as potentially involving a criminal act and/or an infringement of the complainants’ civil rights. Please supply the percentages for criminal, legal and human rights.

In addition, how many times did the LGO seek advice from a more appropriate agency/body or court, how many times did the LGO ask a more appropriate agency/body or court to deal with the complaint? And how many times did the LGO refer the complaint back to the complainants informing them of a more appropriate agency/body or court to deal with their complaint. Please supply the percentages for criminal, legal and human rights.

LGO response will be available here on or before the 6th of October 2008 They have already acknowledged receipt.

Has the York LGO got that sinking feeling yet?

End of days.

This post was made 162 days after the York LGO told me to expect an imminent letter from Cheshire County Council apologising for the delay in resolving the matter. Unfortunately I have still not received the promised apology, although ironically I have received further threats. The council cease to exist in 202 days and will be replaced by a new unitary authority. Will I get an apology before they close their doors for the last time? More importantly, when are they going to stop threatening to interfere with my legal and human rights. The York LGO may be able to conveniently ignore them but I don't intend doing and I am sure a court won't.

31st March 2009?

A or B or we'll hit you with C

This is what a council solicitor and the York LGO consider a 'consultation'.

Accept plan A or plan B, both of which include a ramp on my land. (A ramp which should be on land in their ownership) A ramp I don't want on my land and a ramp they can't force me to accept.

If I don't accept plan A or B they threaten to implement 'option' C. which is basically an 18" step at the boundary of my property totally blocking my right of way. (Curiously no plans at all have been supplied for this option)

On it's own the offer of plan A or plan B could be considered as a consultation, however, it wasn't offered on it's own it was accompanied with the threat that they would implement option C should I decline to accept plan A or B.

In my book that's a threat not a consultation. Option C interferes with my legal right of way as well as my human rights. The council has today declined to tell me which specific statutory authority allows them to implement option C and breach my legal and human rights.

It's a bit like a bully asking you to accept a black eye or a thick ear with the threat that if you don't agree to one or the other they will thump you in the stomach. If the York LGO considers this acceptable behaviour let alone a consultation then God help all complainants.

This is an extract of on email I received from the York LGO on the 3rd September 2008. Giving you an insight into how the York LGO's mind works. (Or doesn't as the case may be.)

'.....I have obtained a copy of the Council's letter to you of 21 August. As I read it, and without the benefit of the enclosures, the County Council has put forward two schemes which would involve work on your land and are inviting you to give consent by a given date to whichever you prefer.

In the event that you choose not to give consent to one of those schemes the County Council says that it will do what it considers necessary to bring the highway to adoptable standards by undertaking work on land entirely in its ownership. In that event, the Council warns that it will take legal action to prevent you from interfering with those works.

I do not see how the County Council's offer to do work on your land, which it makes clear you are free to decline, could possibly be said to ignore your human and legal rights.....'


More York LGO obfuscation, it's not the offer to do work on my land which is the threat per se. The threat is the intention to carry out option C should I refuse plan A or plan B. Option C does interfere with my legal and human rights as did their original plan which the York LGO has already conveniently ignored.

Just what part of a step don't you understand Mrs Seex? And exactly which part of the step on their land won't interfere with my legal and human rights, which part of the step on their land won't have any impact on my property, which part of the step on their land won't cause difficulties for my disabled visitors, which part of the step on their land won't cause my vehicles any access & egress problems and above all else which part of the step on their land won't be the result of maladministration?

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'.

Mrs Seex, I have a copy of this book would you like me to lend it to you?

It's not rocket science!

In 1998 Vale Royal Borough Council promised the then York LGO that the highway would be redesigned so it would have no impact on my property. So Mrs Seex, just what part of a 18" step across my vehicular right of way don't you understand? And just how does a 18" step across my entrance have no impact on my property? A legal right of way my property has enjoyed for well over 100 years and still enjoys to this day.

Human Rights Act (Part II. The First Protocol)

Article 1: Protection of property (this includes land) Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions.

What your eye doesn't see a council doesn't have to grieve over no doubt

Even if justice is blind those who dispense it shouldn't be.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Odds on you lose with the York LGO.

The odds of obtaining a report from the York LGO in which they find maladministration following an investigation are about 1 in 300.

Whilst the Odds of writing a New York Times best seller are only 1 in 220.

I have managed to obtain a report from the York LGO twice for the same problem. That would equate to odds of about 1 in 90,000. Ironically the problem has still not been resolved so I am still technically in a position to submit a third complaint about the same problem.

If successful the odds would be 1 in 27,000,000. (Carol Vorderman could no doubt tell me the exact odds.) The odds of becoming a saint are only 1 in 20 million whilst the odds of becoming president of America are only 1 in 10 million. (Unfortunately nationality precludes this possibility as it does for Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

I wonder what the odds are of the Local Government Ombudsman ever doing their job properly? I think I'll stick to the National Lottery, much better odds at 1 in 14 million.

What's good for the goose!

The York LGO finds and reports maladministration in only 0.34% of all complaints submitted to her. To put that in perspective, that means out of every 10,000 complaints submitted to her she thinks fit to report only 34 as maladministration. That's an extraordinary low figure which can best be analysed by comparing it to other Ombudsman. For example her colleague in Coventry finds and reports 3 times as much maladministration whilst the Parliamentary Ombudsman finds and reports 200 times as much.

If that's not bad enough the York LGO has the greatest number of councils rejecting her findings and recommendations. The York LGO only produces some 20 reports of maladministration a year, however, an every growing number of councils are rejecting these. Trafford (two), Sefton (two) and Tynedale are recent examples. More may yet be discovered but it proves that the York LGO misled the audience when she stated on the Radio 4 You and Yours program that a council ignoring an Ombudsman was a rare event. Trafford even demanded that another Ombudsman looked after any future complaints.

If councils can reject an ombudsman and their findings then so can a complainant. Therefore,
I also reject the York LGO's investigation and report into my complaint on the following grounds.

They, took into account irrelevant matters, failed to take into account relevant matters, manipulated evidence, failed to take into account my legal and human rights, biased the report in favour of the council, misled me on numerous occasions, refused to let me see, let alone controvert, the evidence supplied by the council, misinterpreted statutes..... and the list goes on and on. In fact the report is so bad I can't understand how the York LGO dared put their name to it. I suppose being totally uncountable helps.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A must read.

Total Politics: Brass neck of the year award.

A clear and concise article about the Radio 4 You and Yours broadcast highlighting Carly's Wright's case has been published on the Total Politics website.

Friday, September 05, 2008

York LGO: Case study introduction.

Although I secured a finding of maladministration during 1998 I was still left totally dissatisfied with the York LGO. At the time I thought my experience may just be a one off, however, when I started to research the subject it became clear that hundreds if not thousands of other people had also been let down badly by Local Government Ombudsmen. This is when I first became aware of LGOwatch, a website campaigning against bias and maladministration in the English Local Government Ombudsman service. In the beginning we concentrated on research and dissemination of information, however, we soon realised we needed hard evidence so I decided to pursue a second complaint through the York LGO as an evidence gathering exercise. When the new York LGO finally took the bait during 2006 and agreed to investigate my second complaint there were only two possible outcomes; my complaint would be handled properly and I would uncover no evidence of wrongdoing or they would once again try and manipulate the outcome in the councils favour and provide me with evidence to expose this corrupt practice. I started this blog around the same time to chronicle events. Whilst my complaint was being investigated I gave the York LGO every opportunity to do the right thing but on each and every occasion they chose to do the wrong thing. This last month I managed to secure a second finding of maladministration but in a repeat performance of my first complaint the York LGO found the council guilty of maladministration on a minor issue whilst burying much more serious maladministration. I am now back in the same position as I was before I submitted my first complaint in 1997 but unlike many complaints I can fall back on my legal and human rights so although the York LGO has buried council maladministration for the second time they still haven't resolved the underlying problem. I recently gave the York LGO a final chance to put matters right but she decided to declare herself 'functus officio' instead. As a result I am now free to tell the whole story and publish all the evidence. The first instalment will be my response to their final report.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Another dissatisfied York LGO blogger

SMBC: Another blogger lifting the lid on the York LGO.

FACT: The York LGO has created more anti ombudsman websites and blogs than any other ombudsman in the country.

The question the York LGO must ask herself is WHY? And then do something about it! The question I ask myself is why has she not done so long before now?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Radio Ga Ga

During the Radio 4 You and Yours programme today Anne Seex York LGO states that it is rare for a council to ignore an Ombudsman. Whilst that may be true for her colleagues it isn't true for herself, Trafford, Tynedale and Sefton (twice) have all decided that they have no confidence in her recommendations. When you take into account she only produces about 20 reports in any given 12 month period it would appear quite common for a council to ignore her. Mind you the majority of complainants never had any faith in the LGO in the first place so I suppose we can't blame local authorities when they start to agree with us.

Quando omni flunkus, mortati

The York LGO, has today declared herself 'functus officio' as far as my case is concerned. However, I think would be more accurate description of what she is trying to do would be

'quando omni flunkus, mortati'.

When all else fails play dead.


Radio 4 also think York LGO justice is just an illusion!

Radio 4 You and Yours programme available on-line until next week.

Local Government Ombudsmen don't want enforcement powers for one reason and one reason only. Article 6 of the Human Rights Act would be engaged. This would force them out of a cosy 'pseudo' judicial role, where they can conveniently ignore things like natural justice, legal and human rights. It would also mean they would no longer be in a position to bury maladministration for their friends and ex collogues still in local government and that's the last thing they want.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Analogy by design

A council tells the York LGO they can physically produce this. They even show them a plan view.

A complainant argues they can't and tells the ombudsman to refer to a cross sectional view to prove their point.

The York LGO refuses to take a cross sectional view into account and accepts the word of the council.

7 years later the York LGO finds the council not guilty of maladministration as far as the 'illusion' is concerned but guilty of delay in not actually producing it.

The council then decide not to produce the 'illusion' after all and the whole process starts again.

The York LGO thinks that's justice, whereas I think it's just an illusion.

Justice for Carly Wright [UPDATE]

Carly Wright's mother, Wilma will be on the Radio 4 You and Yours programme on Wednesday the 3rd September at about 12.45pm discussing the problem with local government ombudsmen. If you missed the broadcast you can listen to it on-line You and Yours Wednesday edition repeated.

Background

Carly was let down badly by Trafford Council and her family have since been let down badly by Trafford and the impotent Local Government Ombudsman. Please help Carly's family to get the justice they deserve. Sign her mother's petition now! Click here to read the Public Service Ombudsman Watcher's press release. At the bottom of the press release there is a facility to send a link to your local newspaper. Read the Guardian article here.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Quote

"No one can have a higher opinion of the Local Government Ombudman's office in York than I have, and I think they are demonstrably incompetent."