Wednesday, 31 March 2010

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Local Government Ombudsman corruption, deceit, bias, whitewash and cover ups exposed

This website/blog exposes the truth about the Local Government Ombudsman, the facts they wouldn't want you to know, the underhand tactics they use to whitewash and cover up council maladministration, how they deceive and con the public, fiddle their statistics, and thwart valid complaints. 

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) claims to be independent and impartial, but those of us who have experienced the Local Governement Ombudsman in recent years know these claims are a sham and untrue. The Local Government Ombudsman is an old boys school of ex council employees, rotten with corruption to the core, whose main aim is to whitewash and cover up as much council maladministration as it can get away with.

There are three Local Government Ombudsman in England, and were until recently all ex council chief executives. Its investigators and senior staff (who are also mainly ex council employees) use devious tactics to con naive members of the public into believing they are impartial and do not take sides. Astute complainants know otherwise.

Deceit is the main tactic of the Local Government Ombudsman. If you conceal evidence and or misrepresent the facts, a guilty person may be found not guilty, and conversely an innocent person may be found guilty. This is how miscarriages of justice occur. The Local Government Ombudsman use this ruse to cover up maladministration, so that a council officer guilty of maladministration is found not at fault (not guilty), or alternatively guilty of a minor matter by concealing the evidence of a more serious matter.

The Local Government Ombudsman uses it's discretionary power not to investigate a complaint as a way of covering up maladministration and injustice. If the Local Government Ombudsman decline to investigate a complaint they can whitewash the maladministration and injustice. There is no right of appeal against a Local Government Ombudsman's decision not to investigate a complaint other than by way of judicial review. But a judicial review (on a decision not to investigate) is unlikely to be successful as the courts have held in a number of cases that the Local Government Ombudman's discretionary powers are absolute.

The Local Government Ombudsman publishes and report a few cases every year, about 1% of all investigated cases. These reported cases are designed to con the public into believing that they deal with all cases in a like manner. This is not so.

The Local Government Ombudman's investigators are set performance targets to complete cases irrespective of whether they make the right decision or not, or remedy any injustice. Performance targets encourage investigators to use their discretionary powers not to investigate a complaint, close cases finding no maladministration when the converse is true, or reach settlements acceptable to council officers irrespective of whether this remedies the injustice to the complainant.

If the Local Government Ombudsman decides to investigate your complaint, their investigators will try to con you into believing they are carrying out a thorough investigation when in fact they are not. After a few months they may try to close the investigation by finding no maladministration when there is clear evidence to the contrary. They invariably believe what council officers tell them without question, and will peddle council officers lies and deceit. If you pursue your complaint further, they then try to wear you down, deliberately provoke you (if your are abusive to them they will close your case), waste your time, and hope that eventually you will give up.

The Local Government Ombudsman use local settlements (which are not published) to close cases and conceal maladministration from the public. The investigator connives with council officers to agree a remedy so they can close the case. The settlement is not necessarily agreed with the complainant. This ruse encourages council officers to agree the least costly remedy they can get away with, and they can also conceal the maladministration from councillors. The remedy may be no more than an apology.

You may challenge the Local Government Ombudsman's decision only by judicial review on limited grounds, but the costs involved make this option available to the few who qualify for legal aid or have substantial financial resources. This allows the Local Government Ombudsman to continue its corrupt and deceitful practices with impunity.

The Government, Ministers (and some MPs) are aware of the corrupt practices of the Local Government Ombudsman, but do nothing to rectify the matter. In answer to Parliamentary questions Ministers continue to maintain that the Local Government Ombudsman is independent and impartial, that their decisions can be challenged by judicial review, and there are no proposals to reform the Local Government Ombudsman. By implication, the Government condone and are party to the corrupt practices of the Local Government Ombudsman.

The present Government promotes institutionalised corruption by the Local Government Ombudsman and miscarriages of justice. Whilst this situation prevails complainants will continue to suffer injustice, council services will not improve, and inept council officers can walk away with their reputations intact knowing that the Local Government Ombudsman is no more than a toothless tiger, protected by a Government in denial of the truth.


The three wise monkeys are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The phrase is often used to refer to those who deal with impropriety by looking the other way, refusing to acknowledge it, or feigning ignorance.

Three wise monkeys



Named and shamed (the corrupt Local Government Ombudsman fraudsters)

Local Government Ombudsman Officers (York Office)

Richard Corney - Investigator
Chris Cobley - Assistant Ombudsman
Neil Hobbs - Deputy Ombudsman (acting)
Anne Seex - Local Government Ombudsman

These corrupt fraudsters deliberately covered up council maladministration, concealed documented evidence of maladministration, knowingly misrepresented facts to favour incompetent council officers and whitewash mistakes, manipulated evidence, disregarded and failed to uphold their own published guidance on good administrative practice, and by their omissions condoned council malpractice.

These dishonest cowards and two faced hypocrites lack the moral integrity to report the truth. Instead they deceive the public by failing to report all the facts, and conceal the truth in order to cover up the blunders and errors of incompetent council officers. These debased and immoral individuals are paid by the taxpayer to whitewash and cover up maladministration. They are unfit to carry out the duties for which they are employed.

Carlisle City Council Officers

Alan Taylor - Development Control Manager
Alan Eales - Head of Planning Services
Charles Bennett - Tree Officer
Chris Hardman - Local Plans & Conservation Manager
Catherine Elliot - Director of Development Services
John Nutley - Head of Customer & Information Services

The Head of Planning Services, Alan Eales, declared an interest in the developer, Story Construction Ltd. ; he declared a family member (daughter) was employed by Story Construction Ltd.

The Director of Planning Services also had an interest in the developer, Story Construction Ltd. A family member was employed by Story Construction Ltd.

When the two most senior planning officers have an interest in Story Construction Ltd (i.e. both have a member of their family employed by Story Construction Ltd) that must put into question the impartiality of the planning department and their advice to the Development Control Committee in respect of planning and development matters relating to Story Construction Ltd.

It was not disclosed whether any brown envelopes (or the contents thereof) were passed from the developers to council officers.

If any statement published herein relating to any of the above named persons were untrue or incorrect, they could pursue an action for defamation. None of the named persons has done so, nor is it likely that they will do so as all statements herein relating to the above named persons are documented and known to be true.









Case history summaries - documented evidence of Local Government Ombudsman deceit, whitewash, and cover ups of council maladministration, blunders, and bungles

Page Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Planning officer grants residential development on land a developer agreed (by legally binding Planning Agreement) to gift to council as public open space
  3. Planning officers turn blind eye to football pitch destroyed by developers
  4. Protected trees unlawfully felled - Tree Preservation Order sham and planning officer blunders
  5. Planning officers fail to enforce landscape planning conditions
  6. Council officers ignore complaints procedures and conceal complaints from local councillors
  7. Planning officers turn blind eye to unauthorised sales office
  8. Planning officers fail to uphold Planning Agreement and landscape conditions - unauthorised concrete block wall 
Introduction

The following cases reveal how the Local Government Ombudsman deliberately conceal evidence of maladministration, misrepresent the facts, manipulate the evidence, fail to rectify injustice suffered, or decline to investigate valid complaints.

They also reveal the blunders of inept, incompetent council officers, and the shenanigans they use to cover up maladministration and corruption. Planning officers (and other council officers) do not always tell the truth. They will tell you what they want you to know but try to conceal their mistakes and errors with lies and deceit.
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Planning officer grants residential development on amenity land a developer covenanted to gift to council as public open space

When a developer, Story Construction Ltd, was granted outline planning approval to build 230 homes on a site identified in the Local Plan as an Area of Local Landscape Significance, subject to a Planning Agreement requiring the developer to gift to Carlisle City Council land as public open space to extend an existing avenue of trees, you might expect planning officers would ensure the open space land is transferred to the council and the avenue trees planted. Instead, the bungling council officers fail to enforce the transfer of the open space land to the Council.

The Development Control Manager, Alan Taylor, grants planning permission for houses and gardens on part of the open space land in breach of the outline planning permission and the terms of the Planning Agreement. The Development Control Manager did not have the delegated authority to grant planning permission under Carlisle City Council's Scheme of Delegation because the planning application was contrary to a previous decision of the Council (the outline planning permission and Planning Agreement) and should have been determined by the Development Control Committee. That was maladministration.

The Development Control Manager refers a second planning application for houses and gardens on another part of the open space land to the Development Control Committee, but fails to notify the Committee that the planning application was in breach of the outline planning permission and the developer's covenant in the Planning Agreement to transfer the land as public open space. That was maladministration.

When the planning officer's blunder is exposed, the Development Control Manager and other council officers attempt a cover up.

The Local Government Ombudsman's publication entitled Good Administrative Practice states that delegated powers should not be misinterpreted or misapplied, and specifically refers to examples where planning officers act without delegated authority.

The Local Government Ombudsman comes to the perverse, unhinged, and totally irrational decision that the council was not at fault.

How can the Local Government Ombudsman come to the perverse decision that the council was not at fault when residents have been denied the amenity benefit of the use and enjoyment of land that should have been gifted to the council as public open space and planted with an avenue of trees?

Why does the Local Government Ombudsman conceal documented evidence that the Development Control Manager didn't have the delegated authority to grant planning permission and failed to notify the Development Control Committee of the breach of the legally binding Planning Agreement and outline planning permission?

The reason is because the the Local Government Ombudsman is corrupt, peddles the lies of inept council officers, deliberately conceals incriminating evidence, and wilfully misrepresents the facts to whitewash and cover up council maladministration.
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Planning officers turn blind eye to football pitch destroyed by developer

When Carlisle City Council granted planning permission for residential development, subject to a Planning Agreement and condition that an adjoining football pitch is retained and transferred to the council within 12 months, you might think residents would be able enjoy the use of it. Instead, bungling council officers allow the developers (Story Construction Ltd and Senator Homes) to destroy the football pitch and use the land as a site compound and soil dump, fail to take any action until someone complains, and then permits substandard reinstatement. That was maladministration.

The Council's Local Plan Policy L10 prohibits any development which will result in the loss or encroachment upon school or private playing fields or play space. The Council’s Planning Enforcement Policy states the Council will uphold the objectives of the planning policies contained within the Development Plan (which includes the Council's Local Plan) and will take action against significant breaches of planning permissions and against development which has not been given approval.

The Local Government Ombudsman comes to the perverse, unhinged, and irrational decision that the council was not at fault.

How can the Local Government Ombudsman come to the irrational decision that the council was not at fault when council officers failed to uphold the conditions of a planning permission and legally binding Planning Agreement, and the residents were denied the benefit of the use and enjoyment of the football pitch after it had been destroyed?

The reason is because the Local Government Ombudsman is corrupt, peddles the lies of inept council officers, deliberately conceals incriminating evidence, and wilfully misrepresents the facts to whitewash and cover up council maladministration.
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Protected trees unlawfully felled - Tree Preservation Order sham and planning officer blunders
  
You might think that trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) are protected from felling. This is not the case in the district of Carlisle City Council. If protected trees happen to be in the way of developer Story Construction Ltd, planning officers at Carlisle City Council will give approval for them to be felled. To make matters worse, the incompetent officers fail to include replanting conditions in their felling consents, and don't enforce replanting requirements.

The Garlands Hospital TPO was made in 1999. Out of the 227 protected trees 54 (24%) have been felled.

Bungling planning officers granted consent to fell the wrong tree, grant consent to fell a tree the developer had asked to crown thin, then try and cover up their blunders with lies and deceit. When the developer unlawfully fells two protected trees, the unscrupulous planning officers try to cover it up with more lies and deceit rather than take legal action to prosecute.

Policy E18 of the Council's Local Plan states that trees which contribute to amenity will be protected by means of a tree preservation order... and ...particular attention will be given to trees that are on sites where there are proposals for development, to ensure not only that the significant trees are protected, but that the development works and proposed buildings do not prejudice the future of the trees.....and .... .if it is subsequently found that some trees need to be felled for the purposes of good management, the provisions of the tree preservation order can secure their replacement, if appropriate, therefore ensuring continuity of tree cover.

Planning officers failed to comply with Policy E18 and protect trees subject to a TPO or apply and enforce replanting conditions to ensure continuity of tree cover. The developer failed to comply with planning conditions to prevent damage to protected trees, and the planning officers failed to enforce the conditions.

After initially proposing to discontiue the investigation, the Local Government Ombudsman reversed their decision and found maladministration (in part) causing injustice, but covered up much of the damning evidence of maladministration and of council officer's lies and deceit.
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Council officers fail to enforce landscape planning conditions
  
When planning permission was granted to build 230 homes on the periphery of Carlisle on a site identified in the Local Plan as an Area of Local Landscape Significance, you might expect planning officers would ensure that landscape planning conditions are complied with. This is not the case in the district of Carlisle City Council.

Inept planning officers allow developers to start building work without an approved landscape scheme in breach of planning conditions. One developer completed the development without any approved landscape scheme, and the other developer did not submit a landscape scheme for approval until a resident complained 3 years after the development started.

Policy E19 of the Local Plan requires landscaping schemes to include the arrangements and responsibilities for maintenance of them and that development will be monitored to ensure that landscape schemes are implemented. This did not occur. That was maladministration.

The Local Government Ombudsman initially tries to cover up the maladministration and proposes to discontinue their investigation. Eventually they change their mind, finds maladministration (in part) causing injustice, but conceals much of the damning evidence of maladministration, and deliberately misrepresents the facts, particularly in respect of the Story Construction Ltd development.

The Local Government Ombudsman failed to follow their guidance (entitled Good Administrative Practice) and failed to recommend the council take action to remedy all the breaches of the landscape planning conditions by undertaking the tree planting shown on the development plans.

To read the truth and full story click here.
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Council officers ignore complaint procedures and conceal complaints from local councillors
  
When a resident makes complaints to Carlisle City Council you might expect the council would abide by their complaints procedures. This is not the case in the district of Carlisle City Council.

The council's complaints procedures gives the complainant the right to put unresolved complaints before a Board of Arbitration of local councillors. But that never happens. Council officers deliberately ignored repeated requests by the resident to refer the complaints to a Board of Arbitration. Council officers do this as they know the Local Government Ombudsman will often cover up evidence of maladministration in favour of the council. The resident then has no option but to refer the complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman.

A planning officer, Alan Taylor, who investigated some of the complaints, was also the subject of the complaints, so it was not surprising the planning officer finds no fault. It is contrary to good administrative practice, the rules of natural justice, and the council's complaints procedures for a council officer to investigate a complaint made against himself. The Local Government Ombudsman did not criticise the council for this or recommend the council discontinue the practice. By these omissions, the Local Government Ombudsman condones council malpractice and maladministration.

The Local Government Ombudsman finds that the resident should have been given the right to put complaints before a Board of Arbitration, but fails to recommend that the council take action to enforce this right, and ensure the council's complaints procedures are followed. By this omission, the Local Government Ombudsman encourages council officers to continue to ignore complainant's requests for a Board of Arbitration, and condones council maladministration.

To read the truth and full story click here.
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Planning officers turn blind eye to unauthorised sales office
  
When a house builder constructs a sales office at the entrance to a residential development site you might think it has planning permission or otherwise planning officers would take enforcement action. This is not the case in the district of Carlisle City Council.

Carlisle City Council planning officers turn a blind eye to it, and then try to fool a resident into believing it doesn't require planning permission. That was maladministration.

When planning officers first became aware of the sales office they failed to request the developer remove the sales office or apply for retrospective temporary planning approval. Instead they took no action. That was maladministration.

The site of the sales office should have been planted with trees and a wall constructed in accordance with the planning permission and Planning Agreement. This was not done. That was maladministration.

The council should have notified the local Valuation Office Agency of the sales office so it could be assessed for business rates. They failed to do so. These omissions led to the developer not paying any business rates on the sales office (a period of over 4 years). That was maladministration.

The bungling council officers fail to serve an enforcement notice within the 4 year statutory time limit, and just hope the developer will remove the building. That was maladministration.

The Local Government Ombudsman declines to investigate.

So why did the Local Government Ombudsman decide not to investigate the complaint? The reason is because they are not impartial but biased in favour of councils, do not act in the public interest, are inconsistent in their decisions, and condone Council malpractice and incompetence.
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Planning officers fail to uphold Planning Agreement and landscape conditions - unauthorised concrete block wall

When a developer constructs a wall and fence adjacent a cycleway/footpath on the edge of a new housing development, you might expect it has planning permission or otherwise planning officers would take enforcement action. This is not the case in the district of Carlisle City Council.

The concrete block retaining wall, which was over 2 metres high with a wood fence above, is situated on land shown as amenity tree screen planting on the approved residential development plan and Planning Agreement.

Planning officers do nothing to enforce the landscape planning conditions and Planning Agreement, or to remove the wall and fence.

The Local Government Ombudsman declines to investigate a complaint made by a resident.

So why did the Local Government Ombudsman decide not to investigate the complaint? The reason is because they are not impartial but biased in favour of councils, do not act in the public interest, are inconsistent in their decisions, and condone Council malpractice and incompetence.
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How the Ombudsman will deal with your complaint - the truth and the Local Government Ombudsman deceit exposed

I use the Local Government Ombudsman's publication How the Ombudsman will deal with your complaint (01/04 edition) to reveal the truth about the Local Government Ombudsman and how they deceive the public. What is important is not what the Local Government Ombudsman say, but what they don't tell you.

Note. All statements by the Local Government Ombudsman are in coloured italics.

What does the Local Government Ombudsman do?

We investigate complaints about councils and some other authorities.

The Local Government Ombudsman will only investigate a complaint if the complainant has exhausted the council's complaints procedures, and if they consider the injustice is significant. The Local Government Ombudsman will dismiss your complaint if you have not given your council the opportunity to remedy your complainant first.

We aim to get things put right if we find they have gone wrong. 

Untrue. The Local Government Ombudsman will often conceal things that have gone wrong to cover up maladministration and not put them right. In fact the Local Government Ombudsman cannot make the council put things right.

We are completely independent of the Government, councils, and the people who complain to us.
  
Untrue. The Local Government Ombudsman is directly funded by the government. All three Local Government Ombudsmen for England were until recently former chief executives of local councils, and their investigators are predominantly ex council officers.

Like judges, we are impartial.

Untrue. The claim the Local Government Ombudsman is impartial is a sham. The vast majority of Local Government Ombudsman senior staff and its investigators are ex-council employees.

There is evidence in the public domain (see case history summaries below and links) that the Local Government Ombudsman are not impartial but biased in favour of councils. The Local Government Ombudsman deliberately conceal evidence of maladministration, misrepresent facts, or manipulate evidence to favour councils and cover up maladministration.

Unlike judges, the Local Government Ombudsman do not follow precedents. They do not uphold or abide by their guidance to councils entitled Good Administrative Practice. The Local Government Ombudsman's decisions are inconsistent, and often perverse, unhinged, and irrational.

Our investigations are carried out in private.

The Local Government Ombudsman will not reveal details of their discussions with councils, and will not disclose to the complainant all exchange of correspondence or other communications with councils.

What have they to hide? It is known the Local Government Ombudsman connive with council officers to reach local settlements to conceal maladministration from the public and councillors.

What do we look for?

The law says the Ombudsman must look for maladministration that causes personal injustice. 

If the Local Government Ombudsman find maladministration there is nothing to prevent them from concealing the maladministration, finding no maladministration, or concealing some or all of the evidence of maladministration and misrepresenting facts to favour the council.

We might not investigate your complaint if we consider that the injustice is only slight, or if the council has already taken, or is willing to take, satisfactory action to resolve it.

The legislation does not state the injustice must be significant or not slight. The legislation gives the Local Government Ombudsman the sole discretion whether to investigate a complaint, and the complainant has no right of appeal against that decision.

The Local Government Ombudsman may agree with council officers action to remedy the injustice, but the Local Government Ombudsman does not agree that action with the complainant who may consider the action to be inadequate or ineffective.

What happens if we can investigate your complaint? 

We will investigate your complaint as far as we think we have to, so that we can reach a fair decision.

Untrue. The Local Government Ombudsman will try to close down the investigation and persuade the complainant there is no point pursuing the complaint even when there is documentary evidence of maladministration causing injustice.

The Local Government Ombudsman rarely reach a fair decision. They report maladministration causing injustice in less than 1.5% of all investigated cases, and even in these cases they are known to misrepresent and/or conceal evidence to favour the council.

You will usually have the chance to comment on what the council says about your complaint before we make a decision.

The Local Government Ombudsman are known to deliberately conceal what the council say about the complaint from the complainant, include in their report information not previously disclosed to the complainant, and that the complainant has not had the opportunity to comment on.

What might be the result of the investigation?

Sometimes, during our investigation, we will suggest to the council how it should put things right or resolve the complaint fairly, and the council will agree. Or sometimes the council itself will make these suggestions. Either way, we will take your views into account. 

Untrue. The Local Government Ombudsman will often ignore the complainant's views, or agree action with council officers to resolve the complaint that the complainant considers inadequate, ineffective, or does not properly rectify the injustice.

How long does it take?

We will make a decision on your complaint as quickly as we can. But it may take some months to collect enough information to reach a fair decision. In a few cases, it can take longer.

Untrue. Many investigated cases take more than a year to complete, or the Local Government Ombudsman close down cases prematurely and then reopen them. The Local Government Ombudsman and council officers are known to use delay to try and wear down complainants who rightly persist with valid complaints.

Can you appeal against our decision?

There is no formal right of appeal against our decision. You can apply to the High Court to challenge an Ombudsman’s report or other final decision (this is known as ‘judicial review’). 

The High Court may set aside (quash) a Local Government Ombudsman's decision, but only on very limited grounds. The High Court can require the Local Government Ombudsman to reconsider their decision, but they are not obliged to change their decision, and may reach the same decision. This ruse, and the cost of High Court action, is used by the Local Government Ombudsman to effectively silence complainants, and cover up council maladministration and injustice.

What if you have a complaint about how we dealt with your complaint?

If you have a complaint about the way you have been treated by any member of our staff, or the way your complaint was dealt with, you can write to the Deputy Ombudsman.
 
The Deputy Ombudsman is known to dismiss complaints against members of staff and find no fault even when the complaint is justified and can be substantiated with documentary evidence. The Deputy Ombudsman acts as judge and jury, and is not accountable to anyone.



Guidance on Good Administrative Practice - the guidance to councils the Local Government Ombudsman prescribe but fail to uphold

Local Government Ombudsman Guidance on Good Administrative Practice
  
The document sets out 42 principles or axioms of good administration, together with some explanatory comments and illustrations.

This document provides detailed guidance to councils on what the Local Government Ombudsman considers to be good administrative practice. It is reasonable to expect the Local Government Ombudsman would practice what they preach, and uphold these principles of good administration. But that is not the case.

When determining complaints the Local Government Ombudsman does not uphold its own guidance to councils, they deliberately ignore their own advice to councils, and knowingly conceal documentary evidence of maladministration referred to in the guidance. Here are two examples:-

Example1. 

Principle 18 of the guidance refers to the use of delegated powers. It states:

If a decision is being taken under delegated powers, ensure that there is proper and sufficient authority for this to be done and that use of delegated powers is appropriate in the circumstances.

The guidance goes on to say it is important that
proper authority exists for any individual officer to act under such powers and the delegation power should not be misinterpreted or misapplied. It then gives examples of maladministration where planning officers determine planning applications without delegated authority to do so.

But when documentary evidence is given to the Local Government Ombudsman that a Development Control Manager determined a planning application for reserved matters in contravention of the Scheme of Delegation, the corrupt Local Government Ombudsman ignores their own guidance, conceals the documented evidence, and deliberately covered up the maladministration. Details here.

Example 2.

Principle 24 of the guidance refers providing accurate and relevant information to a committee. It states:


Ensure that a committee is provided with a report when circumstances require and that the report is materially accurate and covers all the relevant points.

The guidance goes on to say
a committee report should provide all the material the members need to make an informed decision.

But when a Development Control Manager failed to notify a Development Control Committee that a planning application for reserved matters was in breach of an outline planning permission and a legally binding Planning Agreement, the corrupt Local Government Ombudsman ignores their own guidance, conceals the documented evidence, fails to mention these facts in their report, and deliberately covered up the maladministration. Details here.

There are many more examples of the way the Local Government Ombudsman ignore their own guidance given in the case histories. Details here.



The three wise monkeys are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The phrase is often used to refer to those who deal with impropriety by looking the other way, refusing to acknowledge it, or feigning ignorance.

Three wise monkeys
 

Remedies - Guidance on Good Practice - the remedies the Local Government Ombudsman prescribe but don't uphold

Remedies - Local Government Ombudsman's Guidance on Good Practice

This Local Government Ombudsman publication states quite clearly:

The aim of the guidelines is to promote consistency in remedies. The remedy needs to be appropriate and proportionate to the injustice. It should, as far as possible, put the complainant in the position he or she would have been in but for the maladministration. 

It is reasonable to expect the Local Government Ombudsman would practice what they preach and uphold their guidance on remedies. But that is not the case.

There is no consistency in the Local Government Ombudsman's remedies. They recommend substantially different remedies for similar cases. Often they recommend a derisory payment of £50 to £250 irrespective of the injustice suffered by the complainant. Substantial payments are made in only a few well publicised reported cases. Less than 1.5% of investigated cases are reported.

In many cases the Local Government Ombudsman recommend a remedy that does not rectify the injustice (even when this is possible), or put the complainant back in the position he or she would have been but for the maladministration.

The Local Government Ombudsman connive with council officers to agree local settlements with councils that are not agreed with the complainant. The complainant's view about the remedy is not reported, and the Local Government Ombudsman lacks the statutory power to enforce any remedy it recommends or agrees with council officers. The Local Government Ombudsman cannot make the council put things right.

Here are some examples of how the Local Government Ombudsman ignore their own guidance:-

Section A6 of Part IX of the guidance (Planning section) states:

There will sometimes be situations where the complaint is that the council failed to act. The remedy may then be that appropriate action should be taken.


Example 1

When council officers allowed the felling of a significant number of protected trees contrary to their planning policy, failed to include replanting conditions, and failed to enforce replanting conditions or the statutory duty to replant, the Local Government Ombudsman ignores their own guidance and fails to recommend the council take action to ensure replacement trees are planted. Details here.

Example 2

When planning officers neglect to include planning conditions requiring developers to maintain landscape areas not included in a Planning Agreement, or to ensure landscape schemes are approved and implemented, the Local Government Ombudsman disregards their own guidance and fails to recommend the council take action to acquire and maintain the landscape areas at their expense, or carry out landscaping that has not been done. Details here.

Example 3

When a Development Control Manager grants planning permission for residential development (without delegated authority to do so) on land a developer was required under a legally binding Planning Agreement to transfer to the council as public open space, the Local Government Ombudsman disregards their own guidance and neglects to recommend the council take action to enforce the Planning Agreement. Instead, the corrupt Local Government Ombudsman covers up the maladministration by concealing the documented incriminating evidence and condones the obvious injustice to local residents by denying them the use and enjoyment of the land as public open space. Details here.

There are many more examples of the way the Local Government Ombudsman ignore their own guidance given in the case histories.  Details here.


The three wise monkeys are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The phrase is often used to refer to those who deal with impropriety by looking the other way, refusing to acknowledge it, or feigning ignorance.

Three wise monkeys

Ipsos MORI Customer Satisfaction Survey for the Local Government Ombudsman July/August 2007 - and how the Local Government Ombudsman biased the results

Customer Satisfaction Survey for the Local Government Ombudsman 2007

The Ipsos MORI 2007 survey found that 73% of complainants were dissatisfied with the final outcome of their complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, and only 22% were satisfied. Of the few cases (less than 1.5%) where the Local Government Ombudsman found maladministration causing injustice, 50% of these complainants were dissatisfied with the outcome.

57% of complainants regarded the fairness of the Local Government Ombudsman's report to be poor or very poor, and only 31% regarded the fairness of the report to be good or very good. Only 45% felt their complaint was investigated fairly.

But more importantly the Local Government Ombudsman manipulated the survey sample by excluding 18% of complaints from the sample, of which 14% were excluded on the spurious ground that no telephone number was provided. When almost all households have a telephone, it is unbelievable that 14% of complaints were excluded from the sample because no telephone number was provided.

It is suspected that the Local Government Ombudsman deliberately manipulated the sample by excluding complainants they knew were not satisfied with the way the Local Government Ombudsman dealt with their complaint, by not providing a telephone number to Ipsos MORI, or otherwise excluding them from the sample. The Local Government Ombudsman deliberately biased the results in their favour.

A telephone survey was used in preference to a paper postal survey as this permitted the Local Government Ombudsman to bias the results by excluding complainants they decided had no telephone number. The Local Government Ombudsman is well versed in methods of deceit, and fiddling statistics is their forte.

In the earlier MORI Complainants Survey (1999), 57% of complainants regarded the fairness of the Local Government Ombudsman's conclusions in their reports and letters to be poor or very poor, and only 31% regarded the fairness of their conclusions to be good or very good. 55% of complainants regarded the logic of the Local Government Ombudsman's conclusions in their reports and letters to be poor or very poor, and only 31% regarded the logic of their conclusions to be good or very good. The Local Government Ombudsman excluded these questions from the 2007 Ipos MORI survey because they show just how perverse, unhinged, and irrational their decisions are. Again the sample was manipulated to exclude certain dissatisfied complainants.


The three wise monkeys are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The phrase is often used to refer to those who deal with impropriety by looking the other way, refusing to acknowledge it, or feigning ignorance.

Three wise monkeys

Local Government Ombudsman Annual Review 2008/2009 - the appalling facts

In the year ending 31 March 2009, the Local Government Ombudsman issued reports of maladministration in 1.18% of investigated cases. These reports include a remedy the Local Government Ombudsman agree with the Council, but the remedy is invariably not agreed with the complainant, and it may not rectify the complaint or redress the injustice.

23.51% of investigated cases were determined by the Local Government Ombudsman to be a local settlement. A local settlement is where the Local Government Ombudsman connive with council officers to conceal maladministration from the public (and councillors) by agreeing to discontinue an investigation if the council officers agree to undertake a remedy the Local Government Ombudsman determine to be satisfactory. Again, this remedy is invariably not agreed with the complainant. The Local Government Ombudsman use a local settlement to conceal complaints of maladministration from the public and councillors.

75.32% of investigated cases (the remainder) where dismissed either because the Local Government Ombudsman decided there was no or insufficient evidence of maladministration, they used their discretion not to pursue the case (insufficient or no injustice), or it was outside their jurisdiction.

The total cost to the taxpayer of the Local Government Ombudsman was £14.064 million. The total amount recommended to be paid to complainants in remedies was only £2.22 million. That is very poor value for money.

If the Local Government Ombudsman were effective in their duties, council services would improve, the number of complaints would fall, and inept council officers would be dismissed. Instead, council services fail to improve, the number of complaints rise, councils repeat the same maladministration year after year, and incompetent council officers remain in post.


References



Full Local Government Ombudsman Report - Carlisle City Council (PDF file)

Customer Satisfaction Survey for the LGO 2007

Local Government Ombudsman guidance notes

Mr Bob Blizzard MP - Written answer to Parliamentary question

Mr Bob Blizzard MP - Written answer to Parliamentary question

Kate Hoey MP - Written answer to Parliamentary question

Mr Bill O'Brien MP - Written answer to Parliamentary question