Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The LGO: When words are not enough

From an earlier post: Whilst the LGO should be sanitisers they are in reality nothing more than a cheap scent attempting to mask the stink from the unpleasant and offensive features of Local Government.

Sanitisers - to make more acceptable by removing unpleasant or offensive features from...Local Government. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Local Government Ombudsman and their fourteen pillars of injustice

Further to my previous update on the subject, the Local Government Ombudsman and their twelve pillars of injustice. I have now added another two pillars of injustice to the list. (still more to add when I have time)

(1) They 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,
(9) they are free to define maladministration as they see fit,
(10) they are free to determine the level of injustice you must suffer before investigating your complaint,
(11) they are free to engage in propaganda (or as Justice Lightman calls it an evangelical agenda),
(12) they probably don't meet the requirements of the Human Rights Act. Justice Lightman's view,
(13) they often accept false statements from a council officer as the truth without any validation (Their 5th pillar of injustice ensures nobody else is in a position to challenge this ludicrous pillar of injustice),
(14) they don't take action against any council officer who has lied to them.

Compare the LGO fourteen pillars of injustice above to the Courts/Tribunal fourteen pillars of justice below.

(1) Court proceedings are held in public,
(2) either side can appeal a judgement on a finding of fact,
(3) the judge is qualified,
(4) a judge can't delegate their job to a junior member of staff,
(5) all evidence is shown to both sides,
(6) a judge can't talk to one side without the other side being present,
(7) any out of court settlement is agreed between the two parties. The judge plays no part,
(8) they have to follow case law or provide a valid reason for not doing so,
(9) statutory definitions exist for all legal wrongs,
(10) a judge can't stop you taking court action even if the injustice you have suffered is slight,
(11) a judge cannot use self promoting publicity (propaganda),
(12) all court/tribunal cases have to be human rights compliant.
(13) statements are not accepted as the truth by a judge without (a) being made under oath and (b) tested by counter argument and cross examination by the other party.
(14) action can be taken against anyone who commits perjury in court. 

Whilst the LGO should be sanitisers of [to make more acceptable by removing unpleasant or offensive features from] Local Government they are in reality nothing more than a cheap scent attempting to mask the stink from the unpleasant and offensive features of Local Government.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Public Service Ombudsman for Wales visits my blog

I wonder if the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, otherwise known as the Commission for Local Administration in Wales, found anything interesting on my blog?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Eric Pickles hasn't got a clue what powers the LGO has

In an article about councils charging for using their local tip

"Communities Secretary Eric Pickles condemned the charges and warned that the result will be increased fly-tipping and high costs for clearing up the mess it causes.

‘I have grave concerns over the legality of this move, which runs contrary to the intentions of Parliament. I urge local residents in Somerset to report their councils to the District Auditor or the Local Government Ombudsman who have powers to block these charges.’"

My comment: Oh no they don't Eric, and if you, the man in charge of the DCLG, the government department which recruits Local Government Ombudsmen, doesn't know they have no powers to force a council to do anything, something is seriously wrong. 

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Manipulating a customer satisfaction survey in your favour

Know who to survey 

If you ask someone who is dissatisfied or unhappy your customer satisfaction score goes down the toilet. So try and ask only those who will give you a positive result.

Therefore you must segment your customers

In any customer base there will always be
  • Segment 1) those who will always give you a high score.
  • Segment 2) those who will always give you a low score.
  • Segment 3) those who will always tell the truth and score accurately. Normally the largest number of your customers will fall in this segment.
  • Segment 4) those who don't like to give low scores in surveys and always give higher marks than you deserve. 
Therefore, if your organisation is expecting a high number of low scores from your customer satisfaction survey then you need to try and find out which of your customers are in segments 1 and 4 and only survey them whilst trying to exclude the others.

Unfortunately if your organisation is really bad at satisfying your customers,  the Local Government Ombudsman is a good example, even segmenting, selecting and filtering the survey participants may still not be enough to prevent a really bad result.

The downside of survey participant segmenting, selecting and filtering is that you may be exposed for using such devious tactics which will, as it has done with the Local Government Ombudsman, flush the reputation of your organisation further down the toilet than it already is.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Wow! And we thought our Ombudsmen were bad

Office of the Ombudsman a cannibal

By Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE Office of the Ombudsman refuses to fire one of its own, Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III, in defiance of President Noy’s order because it doesn’t want to abandon a partner in crime.

Gonzalez is being booted out for sitting on the case of former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza who, in desperation, held hostage a bus full of tourists that resulted in a bloodbath on Aug. 23, 2010.

Mendoza, during the hostage negotiations, said Gonzalez was demanding a big sum of money from him so that his appeal for reinstatement would be decided in his favor.

The Office of the Ombudsman is a cannibal—it preys on its own kind. Its victims are government officials and employees accused of corruption.

It was a case of an extortionist being fleeced by another extortionist.

Extorting from government officials and employees facing corruption charges is common at the Office of the Ombudsman. Read the full story from the source

The LGO: Are their customer satisfaction levels getting worse? I think so

Anyone who has followed the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) for as long as I have will know that both their 1995 and 1999 customer satisfaction surveys were quantitative in nature involving 1000 complainants. However, following the extremely poor customer satisfaction levels highlighted in both the 1995 and 1999 surveys, the introduction of LGO Watch in 2003 and the 2005 select committee investigation into their role and effectiveness the LGO switched to a qualitative customer satisfaction survey involving just a handful of selected and filtered complainants. I will let readers to make up their own mind why they did this. For full details about the difference between qualitative and quantitative surveys click here.

They switched back to a quantitative survey in 2007 but were exposed for removing an even larger percentage of potential dissatisfied complaints from this survey than they had done in 1999 [1 below]. Unfortunately for them even after the removal of a significant proportion of potentially dissatisfied customers they still received an extremely poor customer satisfaction level. Essentially, if you strip away the obvious attempts at manipulating the outcome in their favour they had not improved the atrocious customer satisfaction levels highlighted in the 1995 and 1999 surveys. Although they promised to heed the results of the 1995 and 1999 customer satisfaction surveys and improve they had demonstrably failed to do so by 2007.

For their 2010 customer satisfaction survey (curiously at the same time they were again under the government spotlight) they once again decided to switch back to a qualitative survey involving just a handful of specially selected and filtered complainants. Again I will let readers to make up their own mind why they did this.

However, if you ignore the positive spin they put on the outcome you will observe that the picture is very bleak for the Local Government Ombudsman as far as customer satisfaction levels are concerned. I would even go as far as suggesting that if they were to conduct a quantitative customer satisfaction survey without specially selecting and filtering participants the level of customer satisfaction would be a lot lot worse than it was in the 90s.

You can download some of the survey results here.

[1] During the 1999 survey I was asked by the customer satisfaction survey team to take part. I agreed but also told them that I was a dissatisfied customer. I heard no more from the customer satisfaction survey team and concluded that I was just one of those filtered out by the LGO.

Friday, April 01, 2011

DCLG identify ideal place to recruit LGOs and their staff

After months of research the Department of Communities and Local Government have found an ideal recruiting ground for Local Government Ombudsmen and their staff.

The DCLG also think that LGOs and their staff recruited via this new resource will considerably improve the skill set currently available in all LGO offices.

We should note this day for posterity, one on which we are promised better qualified Local Government Ombudsmen together with more highly qualified staff to support them :).