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.