On the 11th September I submitted the following Freedom of Information request.
I would like to know on what date,
1) the Commission for Local Administration in England started to factor in the likely cost of an investigation into their decision whether to investigate a complaint or not?
2) you made the department of Communities and Local Government aware that you were no longer deciding to investigate complaints based on merit alone?
3) you made complainants aware that the decision to investigate their complaint would no longer be made on merit alone?
The response from the LGO to my FOI request is as follows.
The answers to the questions you pose in your email of 11 September, are:
1.The Commission does not do this [my emphasis], so there is no date.
2.Never (see above).
3.Never (see above).
Oh no? Mrs Seex clearly uses costs as reason for not investigating complaints about council officer conduct. See an extract from a letter I have been given below. No wonder the LGO very rarely identify council officer wrongdoing, they don't even look. Clearly using costs as a reason for not doing so!
Contents of a recent letter sent by Mr Hobbs, Assistant Ombudsman, York LGO office to a complainant.
'Of course the Ombudsman [Mrs Seex] does not condone any council or its officers flouting policies or the law but what she does do is consider whether it is in the public interest and whether it is a good use of scarce public resources to pursue complaints about council officer conduct as opposed to complaints about more substantive maladministration causing injustice.' [My annotation] [My Bolding]
So what is the truth?