Wednesday, 31 March 2010

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.