Saturday, June 04, 2011

An upside of the LGO, don't be daft!

One would imagine that if you are one of the lucky 1% of all complainants who manage to prise a finding of maladministration leading to injustice out of a Local Government Ombudsman you would be a happy bunny.

Not so, some of the most disatisfied of all users are those who have managed to persuade the LGO to find a council guilty of Maladministration leading to injustice.

Here is a recent  example of why complainants, who successfully convince a Local Government Ombudsman to find their council guilty of maladministration leading to injustice, have every right feel the system of administrative justice has badly let them down.
East Staffordshire Borough Council were found to have provided  ‘maladministration causing injustice’ and agreed to pay compensation to four complainants.
In 2006, a farmer submitted a planning application for the erection of a building to be used as a free range egg laying unit.
The application was considered under delegated powers and was refused on the grounds that the size and position of the building would have an imposing impact on the surrounding area and would be visually prominent.
The applicant appealed against the decision and permission was subsequently granted by the Planning Inspectorate.
As part of the appeal process, the council submitted a response but did not include any conditions it considered should be added if the inspector was minded to grant permission.
The applicant then imported more than 100,000 tonnes of material to the site to build up the land and produce a level area on which to build.
Dr Jane Martin, on behalf of the Local Government Ombudsman, said: “The complainants had a reasonable expectation that the council would do more to protect their position and defend the appeal, but the council had done the minimum required.
“In my view, the council then had a duty to defend its decision and respond to the Planning Inspectorate. The council did not robustly defend the appeal. It had the opportunity to suggest conditions but did not do so.”
As a result of the investigation, the authority agreed to make a payment of £500 per household to the complainants who lived in the three nearest properties — a Mrs Parker, Mr McCarthy and Mr and Mrs Noble.
A payment of £150 to a Mr and Mrs Dyer was also made to recognise their time and trouble in pursuing the complaint. [My emphasis] Read the full story from the source Burton Mail
So there you have it, initially let down by their council and then let down again by a Local Government Ombudsman.  £500 compensation for each of the three families who have to put up with a problem created because of their council's maladministration for the rest of their lives.

No wonder Councils tell complainants to go to the LGO.

Now compare what the council had to pay out for maladministration with the £5,000 that the council wanted to fine people who left their bins out too long and refused to pay the £100 fine within 14 days.

UPDATE 6th June 2011: Even the council is unhappy with the LGO.

A COUNCIL has hit back after it was criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman over its handling of a planning appeal.

My comment: I can understand their anger, after all these years they must have got used to the LGO burying complaints against them, it must have been a real shock to actually receive a report finding maladministration. 

Read the ful story from the source Burton Mail

UPDATE 27th June 2011: Houses of Parliament read this post today.

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