Saturday, February 09, 2013

Same old Local Government Ombudsman, still unfit for purpose!

It's about 12 months since a Government Select Committee decided to investigate the Local Government Ombudsman and some 7 months since they published a report panning them, see my earlier posts for full details.

Although, for personal reasons, I haven't had much time to blog lately, I have still been trying to respond to the many emails I receive every week about the Local Government Ombudsman.

Whilst they all, as usual, express total dissatisfaction with the LGO, I noticed a new and disturbing trend in the choice of which devious tactic the LGO now prefers to use to stuff complainants.

The devious tactic I am referring to is the one in which the LGO rewrites a complaint to make it easier for 1) The body being complained about to defend the complaint. 2) LGO staff to refuse to investigate the complaint.

Whilst I accept there are occasions when a complaint need to be rewritten, usually because they are not very clear or concise, it looks to me like the LGO are now abusing this process. This allows them to rip out the substance of many complaints and limit their involvement and/or narrow down any subsequent investigation.

The issue I have is that this devious technique, which is now being used more and more by the LGO, is that it makes it too easy for them to cover up wrongdoing for their friends and ex colleagues in local government.

Even Tom Watson's (MP), when discussing, Hacking, Hillsborough and Paedophilia in Parliament agreed that a narrowed down investigation is the basic building-block of a cover-up.

2 comments:

  1. OMW! You have just described exactly what has recently been done to my mother and her complaint about Thanet District Council!

    Not only that, I did NOT have a complaint with the LGO...my issues with Thanet District Council are still ongoing and formal complaints there still being dealt with thanks to their failure to respond within their own published corporate standards time scales, and neither do they update. It is now some three months since my last correspondence to TDC and I am still awaiting their response, which was promised on 29th January! I digress!

    I had NO complaint therefore with the LGO, and yet they, in the course of considering my mother's complaint, demanded that Thanet District Council release details of correspondence with ME to the LGO!!

    Not only that, they then used this correspondence, even though it was not relevant and was selected I am sure for giving to the LGO precisely because it did not address my specific issue with TDC, and stated that it had been used in their final judgement on my mother's complaint!

    Of course they refused to investigate my mother's complaint, having cut down all the issues she mentioned with TDC to one in particular.

    They then judged that the way TDC had handled the H&S investigation into my daughter's VERY serious injuries at a local riding establishment, and the attitude TDC took when we complained about this farce of an investigation which does nothing to protect the public whatsoever and allowed the local establishment where the injuries occurred to place false information on official council records, within an investigation file, and all without ANY reference to even the injured person let alone any independent witnesses (ie NOT employed by the establishment or the establishment owners!)...all this was not enough of an upset to this child's grandmother, my mother according to the LGO!

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  2. cont... Despite the fact TDC placed on official records, and even went so far as to state to a Solicitor, within a statement of fact of findings, that my mother was PRESENT when my daughter was so terribly injured! SHE WAS NOT!!

    Despite the fact that my mother had been a healthcare professional within our local community for over 35 years, and is known to many people, had her own business latterly in the community. Yet she was not distressed enough about TDC saying that she, with such qualifications and attributes, and so well known locally, was present when her precious grand daughter was injured, and yet stood by and did nothing...according to TDC!

    I am taking up what the LGO did to me with the ICO but am not expecting to have much luck.

    The LGO tells me they formed the opinion from my mother's complaint details that she was acting on my behalf. Funny that, a she never said that ANYWHERE in her letter!

    then the 'Investigator' even telephoned my mother while I was at her hourse and and I spoke to her and put her straight on that false and mistaken belief, and yet she did not say one word to me to advise me that she had ALREADY spoken to TDC and ALREADY obtained not only my mother's complaint documentation with TDC but MINE as well! She had every opportunity and yet said nothing.

    I have asked the LGO to explain, but all they have done is said they formed this opinion. They will not explain exactly how they can have formed such an opinion when it was never said by anybody! They will also not explain why J Gooch, the investigator concerned, did not TELL me on the phone that she had my complaint details and correspondence with TDC!

    This matetr has passed through the hands of at least three people so far at the LGO, taking many months, after the involvement of my MP Sir Roger Gale, and yet still nothing...no explanation!

    The latest emails I had from the LGO first stated the Nigel Ellis, Exec. Director was looking at my complaint (again). Next they sent me an email saying that they would have no more communication with me! Attached to that email were copies of MY MOTHERS COMPLAINT decisions!!

    It seems the Data protection Act has no meaning to the LGO!!

    Are they seriously saying that they could have asked our local council to provide copy correspondence for ALL people with a complaint or issue with TDC about this establishment in order to consider a complaint sent to the LGO by one elderly lady?!

    It cannot be right that they have access to ANYBODY's correspondence with a local council even if that person does not have a complaint being considered by the LGO!

    Oh and by the by, when the LGO investigator J Gooch rang my mother, she did not tell her either that she had all this correspondence; she went through the farce of pretending to talk through the complaint with my mother, and then stated that although she was very busy, and the website stated that delays to be expected, she would send out her decision the very next day!!!

    The LGO has extreme power at their hands and is most definitely abusing it.

    I've written to the office of the deputy prime minister to see if they deal with complaints about the LGO as the London office are refusing to send my complaint to any of the three top LGO officers in the country. Again, I expect nothing but will go through the motions in order to show that this can be done and yet still nobody will make the LGO accountable.

    Thanks for taking the time to keep this info up to date on here. Ours is a long story but one day we will get it written down in entirety!
    Good luck to you and more power to your elbow!
    Bernie x

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