Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Call for further evidence: Cost of investigating your complaint.

My FOI 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?

LGO response

The answers to the questions you pose in your email of 11 September, are:
1. The Commission does not do this, so there is no date.
2. Never (see above).
3. Never (see above).

Extracts from two letters sent by the York office to two complainants

Mr Hobbs, Assistant Ombudsman, York LGO office:
'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]

Mrs Seex, Ombudsman (Commissioner for Local Administration in England) , York LGO office:
'I cannot always justify the public expense of becoming involved in every complaint that has been made to me.' [My Bolding]

My call for further evidence

If you have a letter from a Local Government Ombudsman's (Commissioner for Local Administration in England) office which includes evidence that they took costs into account before deciding whether to investigate your complaint please send me details.

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