Friday, October 31, 2008

Quote

Any report that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for acceptance is a bad report.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Last chance to sign Wilma Wright's petition.

Only a few days left in which to sign Wilma Wright's petition. Please help Carly's family to get the justice they deserve. Sign her mother's petition now!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The LGO: A legal way to pervert the course of justice?

Although most people are aware that Local Government Ombudsmen can't determine a complainants legal and human rights (only a court can do that) many people don't actually realise that Local Government Ombudsmen don't even attempt to identify any legal or human rights issues involved in their complaint let alone do anything about them during the course of an investigation.

This can lead to frightening miscarriages of justice for those complainants who are unaware of this critical fact. Many complaints, as mine does, consists of more than just simple maladministration, they also include potential legal and human rights issues. However, the Local Government Ombudsman only seeks to identify (and then remedy) simple maladministration and overlooks any legal and human rights issues.

Whether the Local Government Ombudsman finds the council guilty of a maladministration or not is irrelevant. The problem is that most complaints naively accept a Local Government Ombudsman's findings as final and, one way or another, an the end of their complaint. They wrongly assume that the Ombudsman has addressed all the issues involved in their complaint. What makes matters worse is that Local Government Ombudsmen do little if anything to advertise the fact that their involvement is concerned only with maladministration. Once the Ombudsman's investigation is over most Councils then use the Ombudsman's report to support their unlawful actions.

Ironically a council is also guilty of maladministration for any infringement of your legal or human rights. However, Local Government Ombudsmen can ignore them with impunity until they have been determined in a court of law.

Therefore, there is a catch 22 situation. A council infringes (or threatens to infringe) your legal or human rights, the Local Government Ombudsman can and does ignore them until they are determined in a court of law. Up to that point, no matter how compelling the evidence, the Local Government Ombudsman can argue they are mere allegations and ignore them. Once determined in a court of law they will of course also become an act of maladministration but once that has been done just what purpose do Local Government Ombudsmn serve?

Fact: With a Local Government Ombudsman a council can be found not guilty of maladministration whilst still remaining (potentially) guilty of infringing your legal and/or human rights. With the courts this situation could never happen because unlike a Local Government Ombudsman they can't ignore your legal and human rights before reaching a decision.


When the LGO state they are an alternative to court they are attempting to con the public. Don't let them con you! If this practice was perpetrated by an individual or private organisation they would be guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Redress in the round (and round the mulberry bush)

I recently received a letter from the current York LGO informing me that she was satisfied with what Cheshire County Council planned to do next. Whilst I am still unaware of what that is I find the LGO's comments offensive. Particularly since all Cheshire County Council have done up to now is threaten to infringe my legal and human rights. Therefore, is she implying that she is satisfied that Cheshire County Council will complete the works whist infringing my legal or human rights? If not why not tell me what they plan to do next? Just what is the big secret?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

LGO and Misdirection

I spotted this video on Neil Herron's blog. Although it's about road safety in London (Excellent work Borris) it can also be used to illustrate how the LGO, LGA and Councils (and other magicians) can use misdirection as an method of misleading people.

Keep your eye on the ball and you will see how easy it is for the LGO to use devious misdirection techniques. Now re-read the report (or letters) they sent you and I think you will find they have added quite a lot of irrelevances to distract you from the seeing the obvious wrongdoings they are desperately trying to hide for their friends and ex colleagues in Local Government.

Once you know what to look for it becomes obvious. However, most people just accept what they are told (or shown) without looking any deeper. The recent LGA poll is an excellent example of misdirection in action.

Do not to focus on what they want you to focus on, focus and what they are trying to distract you from.

In my case just replace the moonwalking bear with

(1) a step that interferes with my legal and human rights.
(2) the councils failure to provide me with proper plans.
(3) the councils failure to tell me the statutory authority they relied on to do the work.

and you will understand how the LGO used misdirection when writing their reports in an attempt to get me and other readers to take their eyes off the bear and onto their ball (irrelevant facts, manipulated evidence, general spin and other LGO nonsense).

By any stretch of the imagination any of the above constitute maladministration. Using the Local Government Ombudsman's own list we have failure to follow procedures or the law, failure to provide information and incorrect action or failure to take any action, yet all the York LGO found them guilty of was delay, which is rather ironic since most of the delay over the last 7 years was caused by the York LGO themselves.

Even though I made it clear at the draft report stage I wouldn't fall for their tricks they still included misdirection techniques in their final report. The only conclusion I can reach is that they weren't trying to misdirect me, they were trying to distract others (councillors, MP, courts and the public).

LGA guilty of producing an Icelandic red herring poll

The LGA are using the findings of a recent poll to deflect criticism away from councils.

Read the questions: I too think it's reasonable for a council to earn interest on public money and I too think councils were caught up in a worldwide banking problem. But that is not what they were being criticised for. The criticism was about putting public money into the more dodgy financial institutions to earn a higher level of interest. The banking crisis just exposed the problem.

This LGA poll is a fraud, one big red herring, designed to deflect criticism away from the fact that some councils were essentially gambling with public money. To make matters worse the LGA used public money to pay for their dodgy dossier.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

LGO maxim number 1: Do as we say not as we do.

The LGO has a section for advisors on their website which offers a long list of things which could be maladministration:
  • delay
  • incorrect action or failure to take any action
  • failure to follow procedures or the law
  • failure to provide information
  • inadequate record-keeping
  • failure to investigate
  • failure to reply
  • misleading or inaccurate statements
  • inadequate liaison
  • inadequate consultation
  • broken promises
However, they are guilty of committing all the above 'sins' whilst investigating my complaint (most of them more than once). So it's a bit rich when they define maladministration for others but then ignore everything on the list themselves.

Do Local Government Ombudsmen and their staff have to take an oath of Hypocrisy when appointed?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A typical example

This is a typical example of what's wrong with local councils.

Kevin Dicks, acting Chief Executive of both Bromsgrove District Council and the Borough Council in Redditch, was heavily criticised by the Tribunal in Birmingham when it found he had unfairly dismissed another officer.

'........the tribunal also criticised several councillors from both parties including, June Griffiths, Margaret Sherrey and Peter McDonald. Other officers criticised were Mr Hazlehurst’s immediate superior, Phil Street, and Jo Pitman, the Head of Human Resources.
The tribunal awarded Mr Hazlehurst nearly £64,000, the maximum amount of compensation possible. The Judge, Alan McCarry, said the panel would have awarded him a far greater sum if it had had the power to do so.'
Whilst the council replied 'We respect the judgement of the tribunal but we still maintain we acted in the interests of delivering the best services to our residents...'

The new way to run a council? Ignore unfair dismissal laws and tribunals and then argue that they acted in the interests of delivering the best services to their residents. I for one don't think £200,000 plus costs were in the best interest of delivering the best services to their residents, more like the best interest of local councillors and the CEO.

This is similar to a Trafford Council case in which they also wasted £170,000 defending a sex discrimination case.

What will happen when a council decides that 'in the interest of delivering the best services to their residents' they can also ignore other laws and Human Rights in order to stuff a member of staff or a citizen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is the LGO bubble about to burst?

Just how long can the Local Government Ombudsmen (LGO) keep up the pretence that the current administrative justice system is an effective deterrent to council maladministration, mismanagement and wrongdoing?

The LGO report council maladministration in only 0.68% of all complaints submitted (0.34% as far as the York office is concerned). However, many of those are also ignored by councils so the true figure of 'reported' and 'remedied' maladministration is less that 0.5%. (0.25% as far as the York office is concerned).

No doubt that's why the press is always full of stories about council mismanagement, incompetence, maladministration and general wrongdoing.

The LGO is the cause of the council bad behaviour bubble just as loose FSA control was the cause of the banking bubble. Councils are now behaving just like the bankers did before their bubble burst. Head in the sand, excessive pay, spin, denial and of course with the current LGO the councils know they can get away with practically anything! Until the bubble bursts that is.


Where will it end and just what purpose do the LGO now serve?

More Cheshire County Council mismanagement

Cheshire County Council leave £8.5million in Icelandic banks months after one adviser was telling councils of the significant danger. In fact councils were advised to quit Iclandic banks as long ago as 2006. "The problems with Iceland's banks have not arisen overnight."

"Mark Horsfield, director of Arlingclose, an adviser to the public sector, said he had long been telling the 45 councils on the firm’s books of the dangers: “These banks have been getting steadily worse for quite a long time.”

Arlingclose advises over 10% of local councils. Surely Cheshire County Council advisers knew about the problem! No doubt the poor old taxpayer will have to pick up the bill for council mismanagement yet again.
"Campaign director at the TaxPayers' Alliance, Mark Wallace, said: "People will be shocked that the councils had this money stashed away in the first place.
Every year we hear that councils don't have enough money and need to raise taxes but it seems they have had sufficient excess tax to salt tens of millions of pounds away.
The fact that they have invested this money and seem to have lost it is even more shocking and is sadly yet another reminder of the poor financial management in local councils.
In short, they should not have stashed this money in the first place and they simply weren't equipped to try to be clever in the markets with it.
It's an absolute disgrace. If the councils can't get their money back, the people who took these excesses should seriously consider their positions as councillors."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Blog visit by the European Court of Justice.

Civil Justice Council.

Even the Civil Justice Council agree there is a problem.

'The CJC is anxious to close what it considers to be a gap in "access to justice” affecting a wide range of consumers, small businesses and employees who are prevented from bringing difficult but meritorious lawsuits because of the costs involved. Under the current system, a patchwork of regulators, ombudsmen and consumer protection groups can go some way to bridging this gap.
But often they lack the desire, powers or resources to bring the sort of lawsuits on behalf of consumers that we could see if the rules are changed.' [my emphasis]

I suggest that one of the first 'collective actions' should be against the LGO.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

York LGO: Catastrohpic fall from grace? (2)

Further to my previous post York LGO: Catastrohpic fall from grace? which included the following statement from the Irish Ombudsman: 'Any action or inaction by the Ombudsman which shows him or her to be less than independent, fair, or zealous when dealing with a complaint, can lead to a catastrophic fall from grace.'

Here are a few examples of the LGO's actions and inactions that have helped them fall from grace. There are many more!

  • Refusing to let complainants see the evidence relied on.
  • Refusing to investigate valid complaints.
  • Minimising the impact of a complaint for local authorities.
  • Failing to take relevant evidence into account, introducing irrelevant evidence and generally manipulating evidence.
  • Lack of true independence.
  • Colluding with local authorities to reproduce documentation or block complainant access to particular documentation.
  • Demonstrable bias towards those under investigation and against complainants.
  • Fiddling statistics and survey results.
  • Lying to and/or misleading complainants.
  • Manipulating reports to minimise judicial reviews.
  • Failure to improve the system.
There is something rotten in the LGO system...Tis an unweeded garden.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

York LGO: Catastrohpic fall from grace?

A speech by Emily O'Reilly: Ombudsman and Information Commissioner, Ireland

The following is a short extract from the above speech.

Every Ombudsman's Office begins with a number of inbuilt advantages. The primary one is the halo effect; any Office that has as its core function, the rooting out of maladministration and the defence from that maladministration of some of our most vulnerable is bound to strike a popular chord with the public, and by extension with the media who see themselves in that space as well, as I've already outlined.

It is imperative that that perception is assiduously nurtured and maintained. Any action or inaction by the Ombudsman which shows him or her to be less than independent, fair, or zealous when dealing with a complaint, can lead to a catastrophic fall from grace.
Truer words have never been spoken.
Was Emily O'Reilly thinking of Local Government Ombudsmen when she wrote her speech?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

LGO orders new office furniture.

The cost of council incompetence, intransigence and maladministration for local taxpayers.

During 1991 a developer tried to do what Cheshire County Council have been threatening to do since 2001. That led to court action and the eventual demise of the developer concerned because they didn't have the money to pay my court costs.

Cheshire County Council could have resolved the problem during 1999 but instead their staff decided to play the same 'threats and intimidation' card that the developer had tried in an attempt to get me to agree to their plans without demur. Bullying didn't work then and it won't work now. 17 years later and all they have done is increase the eventual cost of resolving their problem.

I offered to sell the council the land they needed to finish the road way back in 1999 but they refused, so they only have themselves to blame if they now haven't got enough land to complete the highway without it interfering with my legal and human rights. Cheshire County Council staff took imprudent decisions and Cheshire County Council will now have to live with the consequences.

For I will not allow Cheshire County Council to interfere with my right of way just to save them from the consequences of their own staff's imprudent decision making. Why should I, particularly since all their staff have done over the last 7 years is threaten and intimidate me in an attempt to get me to agree to their plans without demur. I self abated during 2002 and if necessary I intend to self abate again. Fair warning!

LGO York: Dominant, servient or just downright incompetent? (2)

Further to my previous post LGO York: Dominant, servient or just downright incompetent?

Between 1997 and 2008 Vale Royal Borough Council and Cheshire County Council have continually threatened to modify my right of way without my agreement. What they have been threatening to do is unlawful and also constitutes maladministration.

The York LGO's recent suggestion, that Cheshire County Council does not need my agreement to carry out work on their land is, as most of her conclusions have been in my case, seriously flawed. As owner of the dominant tenement land I am entitled in law to protect my right of way over the servient land. Cheshire County Council would not be able to block my vehicular right of way with a building or a wall so just how is a step any different?

So what is the point of an Ombudsman who doesn't understand the basic issues let alone the law surrounding them. Or even worse one who does understand the issues and the law but prefers to twist or ignore them for the benefit of a council. Either way the York LGO has a lot of explaining to do.