Friday, January 27, 2012

The Replacement LGO: Chronology of delay

27th January 2012: Still no replacement for Tony Redmond.

When Tony was recruited during 2001 they knew he would be retiring during 2010, however, some 15 months after he left there is still no indication of when his replacement will start. If it takes the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) so long to recruit a replacement LGO no wonder the country is in such a mess.

See below for a chronology of delay and DCLG excuses.

19th December 2011: So Where is Tony Redmond's replacement?

Tony Redmond, Local Government Ombudsman and Chair of the Commission for Local Administration in England retired on the 11th November 2010.

Historically a replacement is recruited before an existing LGO retires, however, This is the second time they have not recruited a replacement Ombudsman until well after their predecessor left.

Rumours  suggest that his replacement was selected long ago but no date has been given when they will take up post.

At least they won't be able to pick up any bad habits from their predecessor. 

1st July 2011: Tony Redmond's replacement UPDATE

We have now received more information from the DCLG in response to a request for an internal review of an earlier FOI request.

1. The interviews were held on 15 February 2011.
2. 25 candidates applied for the post and four were interviewed.
3. The Department does not currently hold information on the planned date for the successful candidate to take up office.
4. The final selection has not yet taken place.

However, it still doesn't explain why they took so long to start the recruitment process. Especially since they knew Tony Redmond was going to retire in November 2010 when he was recruited in 2001.

I think there is still an unknown reason for the extraordinary delay. 

24th May 2011: So Where is Tony Redmond's replacement?

Tony Redmond, LGO London office and Chair of the Commission for Local Administration for England retired in November 2010.

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) knew he was going to retire in 2010 when he was recruited in 2001. So they had plenty of time to recruit a replacement well before he retired. However, for some unknown reason they didn't.

When asked why the hadn't begun recruiting a replacement well before he retired the DCLG stated that the couldn't because of the 2010 general elections. However, the reason given can't be true because Anne Seex was recruited in 2005 and just as in 2010 there was a general election in 2005.

My wife (part time assistant) submitted a second Freedom of Information in an attempt to root out the truth.

"Dear Department for Communities and Local Government, Please provide any and all information held about the recruitment of a replacement for Tony Redmond, Local Government Ombudsman and Chair of the Commission for Local Administration, who retired some 6 months ago. Or in the alternative any and all information held which would explain why he is not going to be replaced."

Whatever information they now supply can't mitigate the fact that they clealry provided misleading information in their response to her first FOI request.

Something I am personally going to pursue. Looks like the DCLG , like the LGO, are another body that doesn't like telling the full story.

"Dear Department for Communities and Local Government, You have previously gone on record stating that the reason you couldn't recruit a replacement Local Government Ombudsman in 2010 was because it was during an election year. However, Anne Seex LGO  was recruited in 2005 which was also during an election year.

Therefore, I would like a copy of any policy/guidance changes between 2005 and 2010 that would explain the anomaly. Or if you prefer a better reason for not recruiting a replacement Local Government Ombudsman during 2010."

21st October 2010: Advert for Tony Redmond's replacement

An outstanding opportunity exists to lead the further development of the Local Government Ombudsman service in England. 'We are looking for a person of the highest calibre with a significant track record of achievement to fill the role of Chair of the Commission for Local Administration in England and Local Government Ombudsman.

The Commission comprises three Local Government Ombudsmen and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The successful applicant will have responsibility for investigating alleged maladministration and service failure by local authorities and certain other public bodies. The Local Government Ombudsman’s jurisdiction has also recently been expanded to adult social care self funders.

As Chair and Local Government Ombudsman you will also have a key role in overseeing and directing the Commission’s Public Value strategy. Much of this activity focuses on improving local authority service provision and developing sound complaints handling arrangements. As Chair you will also play a leading role in advising the Commission in the development and implementation of the strategic and corporate planning for the organisation.

This high profile role demands strong leadership skills and the highest standards of integrity and sound judgement. Candidates must demonstrate high intellectual capacity and an ability to assimilate complex information.'

In the final candidate pack it states 'Tony Redmond leaves office on 11 November 2010, and his successor is now sought. It is aimed to appoint a new Ombudsman by the end of March 2011.'

This is the second time they have not recruited a replacement Ombudsman until well after their predecessor left.  Whilst during 2005 they recruited Anne Seex well before Pat Thomas left so she could learn the ropes this didn't happen when Jerry White left last year. Dr Jane Martin didn't start until well after he left. The same now appears to apply to Tony Redmond, his replacement not starting for nearly five months after he leaves.

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