Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wirral Council: Where was the Local Government Ombudsman?

Wirral council have been in the news recently, read more here.

Mr Morton’s claims of bullying, cover-ups and maladministration have now led the independent inquiry to conclude that the authority needs a root and branch change in its culture.

 The council was in the grip of a “corrosive” and “inward-looking culture where the needs and rights of residents had become submerged under its bureaucratic machinations. Read the full story here.

How could such a badly run council have such a low number of findings of maladministration against them by the LGO?

2010/11  34 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2009/10  166 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2008/09 43 complaints 1 finding of maladministration reported by LGO.

2007/08 87 complaints  1 finding of maladministration reported by LGO.

2006/07 95 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2005/06 100 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2005/2011 525 complaints against Wirral Council and only 2 findings of maladministration reported by LGO. Now I call that a statistical impossibility unless your objective is to hide the true level of council wrongdoing or like Foulkes you were asleep on the job.

If a very badly run council like Wirral can get away with only 2 out of 525 complaints being reported as maladministration over a 6 year period just how much wrongdoing is reported by the LGO against the average council in any one year? Answer Less than 1%. 

However, if you think that is a ridiculously low figure, the LGO responsible for Wirral Council only found maladministration in only 0.1% of all complaints submitted in 2008. That's only 1 in 1000 complaints submitted were reported by Ann Seex as maladministration. Ten times lower than the national LGO average. And that's why councils like Wirral can get away with cover-ups and maladministration for years....until  of course someone else does the LGO's job and blows the lid off council cover ups and maladministration.

UPDATE 23/9/2011: The reason why the LGO are so bad? 

Now I am in the fortunate position of being able to tell you how easily badly run councils can deceive the Local Government Ombudsman. During a discussion with an investigator they stated that they had 'no reason to disbelieve anything a council told them'. Followed by the breathtakingly naive statement 'why would a council lie to us'.

How an earth can a complainant get a fair and impartial investigation of their complaints with the odds stacked so firmly in favour of the council? Even though the Local Government Ombudsman manipulate their statistics to make them look better than they are, they still report less than 1% of complaints as maladministration. Maybe the fact that all Local Government Ombudsmen and most of their staff are ex council will give you a clue.

I have been trying to blow the whistle on the LGO for years but like Wirral Council, the Care Quality Commission and others, they can get away with it for years until a scandal forces the press and our elected representatives to lift the lid on these corrupt quangos and public sector bodies.

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