Thursday, July 14, 2011

Local Government Ombudsmen and Internal Complaints

I have been asked on a number of occasions recently whether it is worth a complainant submitting an internal complaint to the Ombudsman.

Here are two, of many examples I could give, that illustrate the futility of submitting a complaint to a Local Government Ombudsman about the way in which your complaint was dealt with or for something else you think they did wrong.

I once submitted an internal complaint because an assistant ombudsman instigated a complaint in my name without my permission. Something that they had no legal right to do. However, when I brought this to the attention of the Local Government Ombudsman my complaint was dismissed on the grounds that the assistant ombudsman was only trying to be helpful.

Therefore, if the Local Government Ombudsman is happy to dismiss quite serious complaints about her staff what chance does the average complainant have when submitting a lesser complaint?

On another occasion I submitted a Freedom of Information request to my local council. The council could have quite easily stated they did not have the document but instead they contacted the Local Government Ombudsman's office who fabricated a copy of the document I had requested from the council. The council then sent me a copy of this fabricated letter which, if I hadn't been able to prove it had been fabricated, implied that they had the document I had requested all the time.

When I brought this to the attention of the Local Government Ombudsman, by way of an internal complaint, it was once again brushed aside as the office only trying to be helpful.

Considering the Local Government Ombudsman's response to very serious complaints one has to question whether it's worth submitting an internal  complaint at all.

In a later post I will tell you more about why and how they often wrongly categorise internal complaints.

No comments:

Post a Comment