Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Further evidence that Public Service Ombudsmen are not fit for purpose

Further to my previous post 'Evidence that Public Service Ombudsmen are not fit for purpose'.

Another example has now come to light involving both the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman which confirms the view that they are clearly not fit for purpose.

This example concerns a man with down's syndrome who was ignored after he was detained in hospital and then locked up before he died. The full story can be read from the source The Telegraph.

The article starts by identify the fact that there were serious failings in the care provided to Mr J by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle City Council and the Coquet Trust.

However, Mrs Seex shoots herself in the foot when she states "The failures in Mr J's case show how public authorities can neglect a vulnerable person's wishes and basic human rights to liberty and family life.

Mrs Seex is a watchdog and this happened on her watch and the reason public authorities can neglect a persons wishes, human rights and family life in the first place is because we don't have any public sector watchdogs who are fit for purpose.

What's even worse than having watchdogs who sleep on their watch is having those who  once they wake reward wrongdoing by the public authorities by recommending pathetic levels of compensation for their wrongdoing. Mr J's  family have been awarded £2,000 for their distress.

Were any of the perpetrators disciplined or sacked? No, just the usual 'lessons will be learnt' and 'procedures will be put into place', which we all know mean  that as soon as the watchdogs go back to sleep everything carries on as before.

Why? Because there is no downside for public sector incompetence and wrongdoing. Worse case scenario is that they may have to give the victim a couple of thousand pounds  and that's taxpayer's money not their own.

One of the comments on the article asks the question, how on earth, in the 21st century, does something like this happen? The answer to that question is because we have ombudsmen and watchdogs who are not fit for purpose.

We need proactive watchdogs, ones who are always on patrol and not sleeping in their taxpayer funded kennels like the current bunch until a scandal forces them into some sort of backside covering action.

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