Friday, December 24, 2010

The Local Government Ombudsman and their eighth pillar of injustice

Further to my previous post regarding the Local Government Ombudsman and their seven pillars of injusticeOver the last few weeks I have identified another two pillars of injustice which should be added to the list. Here is the first one, the ninth will be added soon.

The seven eight pillars of LGO injustice.

(1They work in private,  
(2) you can't appeal their findings of fact,
(3) they don't have to be qualified for the job.
(4) they can, and indeed do, delegate their job to a junior member of staff no matter how unqualified or incompetent,
(5) they don't have to show all the evidence to the complainant and they usually don't.
(6) they can and often do talk to the council without the complainant being aware any discussion took place. 
(7) they settle the complaint with the council. A complainant can't refuse such a settlement.
(8) they don't have to follow previous decisions/precedents/case law.

Following previous decisions/precedentscase law would bring certainty to the outcome of a complaint. However, the LGO don't follow this common sense pillar of justice they can ignore any previous decisions or recommendations. 

If two people had similar complaints the LGO could, find for the complainant in one complaint, recommending compensation for the injustice through maladministration, whilst finding against the complainant in the second case, reporting no maladministration. 

If two people had suffered similar injustice the LGO could, find for both complainant but recommend one compensation of £1000 but the other just £5.

In essence complainants can't base the possible outcomes of their complaint on previous cases, which makes the system unjustly unpredictable and unreliable. A system which is open to abuse by the LGO and their staff because their decisions can be made arbitrarily.

A real system of justice has to follow previously decided cases or provide an explanation of how the case under consideration is different from previously decided cases. Accordingly a real system of justice provides a much greater degree of certainty to all the parties involved by putting limits on the judge's freedom to deviate from the norm.

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