Monday, September 20, 2010

My Review of the Local Government Ombudsman

The Law Commission intend to carry out a review of all Public Service Ombudsmen including the Local Government Ombudsmen. As a result I thought I would review what I had learnt about the LGO over the last few years.

Over the last few years these are some of the things they have been caught out doing
  • lying to complainants
  • lying to government departments.
  • fabricating documents for themselves.
  • fabricating documents for councils.
  • fabricating minutes of meetings.
  • failing to keep records.
  • destroying records.
  • making up policy on the fly.
  • manipulating statistics.
  • breaking the law. 
  • misuse of FOI exemptions.
  • wrongly marking documents as confidential.
  • calling upon ex colleagues to sign fabricated documents.
  • manipulating evidence.
  • failing to keep adequate minutes.
I will adding to the list as I recall other things I have seen them do over the last few years.

Add the above, how they operate (the culture) to their seven principles of injustice, what they operate (the system), together with who they are, all ex council staff and you have a recipe for potentially the most corrupt system of administrative justice in the world.

The Coalition Government are on record as saying they want to give Local Government Ombudsmen real teeth. I would prefer them to force the Local Government Ombudsmen to offer real justice first, followed by real independence and only then some real teeth. For what is the point of giving those in charge of an ineffective, biased, incompetent and corrupt system of administrative justice the teeth to do even more damage?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The power of blogs

- On the 14th September 2010 I blogged about a number of roads on my estate still showing as unadopted in the council's official adopted road gazetteer. (Available on-line). This was contrary to what the LGO York Office had told me in the past.

- On the 14th the LGO visited my blog. (I think they are worried about the Law Commission review because they have been visiting my blog and the Ombudsman Watchers website regularly since the review was announced)

- Today, Wednesday the 15th the council amended their gazetteer to match the statements made by LGO staff some two years ago. Talk about you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours!

Whilst I am amused at their devious attempt at arse covering, what they fail to appreciate is that other evidence is still available that proves they lied to me in 2008 about the then status of the roads.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why do the staff at the York LGO office have to lie?

During and following the investigation into my second complaint 2002/8 the LGO stated that all the roads on the estate, save for a very small stretch in the vicinity of my property, were adopted.

However, the following is an extract from the Council's on-line road adoption gazetteer taken on the 13th September 2010. Which clearly shows that the opposite is still true. [A line drawn down the centre of the road on the plan marks their adopted roads.] Those without the coloured line down the middle are unadopted.  4 roads that, at a rough guess, add up to about a quarter of a mile of road and serve some 20 houses..

So the $64,000 question is, was the Ombudsman's report based on a false premiss? The answer is clearly yes, and it wasn't the only false premiss her report was based on and those false premisses still exist to this day.

So the only sensible response to my post title:  Why do the staff at the York LGO office have to lie? is, because it's the only way they can support their perverse and irrational findings.

This is an aerial photo taken in the late 90s about the time the LGO investigated my first complaint. 

Note the state of the roads when compared to the plan above. Both this photo and the adopted road plan above were obtained from the Council's own website and other than being cropped and resized for my blog have not been doctored in any way.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Public service ombudsmen set for shake up. Update 1

I have just read all the Law Commission documentation regarding their  consultation (refer to my earlier post for more details) on the reform of Public Service Ombudsmen only to find it's just like all the other pseudo consultations that many government departments and local authorities now conduct so they can tick the, we have consulted others about these proposals box, thus allowing them to say they have met the necessary rules prior to implementing their plans.

However, like all the other pseudo consultations carried out by public authorities and quangos it is obvious that they have already made up their mind and the so called consultation is nothing more than the usual public sector charade.

I will be submitting a response but don't hold out any hopes of influencing what I consider is a predetermined outcome. The last so called consultation and subsequent changes were only brought about to protect Public Service Ombudsmen not the citizen.

Example 1: Anyone remember the LGO's unlawful use of local settlements? A public sector pseudo consultation followed by a review and hey presto, rather than castigating the LGO for wrongly using local settlements without statutory authority, they just gave the LGO the statutory authority to carry on doing what they had been doing illegally for years. 

Example 2: Anyone remember the cock up the LGO (Coventry Office) made of the Balchins case? The one that led to a number of judicial reviews against the Parliamentary Ombudsman until she could persuade the LGO to jointly get themselves out of their self created difficulties? A public sector pseudo consultation followed by a review and hey presto, rather than castigating the LGO for failing to validate the word of a Council Chief Executive Officer (something they still fail to do today) they just gave the LGO and the PHSO the statutory authority to work together. Now they can simply bury their cock ups rather than having them exposed to public scrutiny.

It is also interesting to note that the Balchins would have had no chance under the latest proposed regime. They were essentially stuffed by two Public Service Ombudsmen and only saved by the court. Now they want to force everyone who would prefer to go to court for real justice, to use the discredited Public Service Ombudsmen.
So the Public Sector and their lap dog Quangos think that by reducing the rights of this country's citizens (including their chances of obtaining proper justice), whilst strengthening what is after all nothing more than a modern version of a court of star chamber, is the way forward, God help us all, for we are on the road to anarchy.

The Law Commission of all people should realise that just as the star chambers became a hated symbol of oppression by the citizen their new system of administrative justice is destined to follow suit.

In fact many citizens, including myself, already think the current system of administrate justice is already perverted, so making it worse, by forcing more citizens to use the discredited Local Government Ombudsman will only hasten their downfall and those who helped keep them in power, such as the Law Commission and possibly the Government.

I find it ironic that whilst preparations are under way to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta (2015), the signing of which confirmed citizen's rights under common law, the Law Commission and the Government of this country are currently trying to destroy one of the fundamental rights that the Magna Carta gave every citizen of this country. The right to a proper system of Justice.

Look at clause (40) of the Magna Carta: "To none will we sell, to none will we deny, to none will we delay right or justice." Well it looks like the Law Commission and this Government are hell bent on denying you your rights to justice whenever a public authority is involved. Please refer to my earlier post regarding the Local Government Ombudsmen and their 7 pillars of injustice and ask yourself is that the kind of justice the Magna Carta promised us and the kind of justice we deserve? 

And we all thought this new Government was going to improve the system of administrative justice by getting rid of all these unfair, unjust and discredited quangos, how wrong we were!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Public service ombudsmen set for shake up

A newpaper article about it is reproduced below. My comments will follow at a later date but it's not the good news the government or some people would lead you to believe. Essentially they are going to force you to use the Ombudsman and their seven principles of injustice instead of having the option of using the courts and their seven principles of justice. Although they will give the Ombudsmen the right to refer a point of law to the courts this is not the same as you having direct access to a just and fair system of redress.
"Plans to reform "outdated and inconsistent" public service ombudsmen will make it easier to complain about poor services, the Law Commission said today.
The shake-up aims to bring consistency to the way the main public services ombudsmen do business and make it easier for the public to seek redress.

It will also help keep cases out of court, the Law Commission, which reviews and recommends reform of the law in England and Wales, said.

Frances Patterson QC, the Law Commissioner leading on the project, said: "The public services ombudsmen have a vital role to play in providing remedies for administrative injustice suffered by individuals.

"By improving access to these ombudsmen, we can reduce the burden that falls on the citizen, public bodies and the courts, and realise savings for citizens and Government."

The commission's proposals include a strengthening of the role of Parliament, a general presumption in favour of a public services ombudsman being able to open a complaint, and a stay and transfer power allowing matters to be transferred from the courts to the ombudsmen.

It also recommended dispensing with the requirements that a complaint must be in writing and that complaints to the parliamentary ombudsman must go through an MP.

Its consultation, which closes on December 3, focuses on the work of the parliamentary commissioner, the local government ombudsman, health service commissioners, the independent housing ombudsman and the public services ombudsmen for Wales."