LOCAL GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN DIRTY TRICKS
There is even a Supplementary Memorandum in the Report from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, signed by Nick Raynsford MP, challenging the impression that the Local Government Ombudsmen gave in their evidence that the ODPM had not responded fully to the Commission's 2003 review. The Report can be read online here.
Copies of the Report can be purchased via the following site.
Government Ombudsman Watch - Campaign for a fair council watchdog, to stop
local government maladministration, where clearly there is built in bias,
in that almost all the staff of the LGO are ex-planning officers!
Local Government Ombudsman Watch believes that citizens have a right to an Independent Local Government Complaints Commission that does not recruit its senior staff from local authorities, as does the current council Ombudsman. A local authority Ombudsman system should also be expected to investigate complaints fairly and impartially, and report that a council is at fault when maladministration is established, rather than disguising the maladministration as a 'local settlement' in its publications.
It must become possible to complain about maladministration when it is committed by a council Ombudsman to an independent tribunal; at present, the citizen is restricted to either complaining to the local authority Ombudsman that the Ombudsman's findings are unjust, or else applying to take the decision to judicial review, which can be a very expensive procedure and is only open to those who are so poor they can get legal aid, or so wealthy that they can afford to lose potentially tens of thousands of pounds.
The prospects of success at judicial review are also very poor: in the financial years 2001-2004, Nick Raynsford MP reports judges to have found in favour of the council Ombudsman in all 25 cases taken to judicial review. Even when an appeal is successful, the judge only has the power to ask the Local Government Ombudsman to take another look at the case. This does not seem like a fair appeal system against a local authority Ombudsman service.
A credible local authority Ombudsman service needs to conduct itself with a degree of honesty, integrity and impartiality that makes it beyond reproach, and be made politically and democratically responsible to the taxpayers who fund it. The present arrangement merely encourages local councils to commit maladministration with impunity, because local authorities know that it is the case that the Local Government Ombudsman is usually very much on their side.
Local Government Ombudsman Watch
for the abolition or radical reform of the Local Government
LGOWatch campaigns to expose widespread Local
Councils' Champion - the Local Government
PETITION TO ABOLISH THE LGO 2007
If you'd like to tell your friends about this petition, its permanent web address is: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/lgowatchers/
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to implement Sir Geoffrey Chipperfield's 1995 recommendations and abolish Local Government Ombudsmen.
Submitted by Pauline Nunn – Deadline to sign up by: 10 October 2007 – Signatures: 84
Pauline Nunn, the Petition Creator, joined by (as of April 2007):
More details from petition creator
Sir Geoffrey Chipperfield recommended abolition of the LGO because they were an unnecessary institution whose work could best be carried out by other bodies. His report was subverted by the interference of the then LGO and its allies. Since then the LGO has demonstrably failed to improve the system, and continues to exclude the public interest from their remit. Irrefutable evidence of its dishonesty and bias has been gathered by LGOWatch since 2003.
The LGO is counter-productive to effective management in local government and a blight on the human rights of citizens looking to this publicly funded institution to act in good faith. On the rare occasions when it is found, the intervention of the LGO tends to entrench maladministration rather than put a stop to it. The continuance of this office is not in the public interest.
*THAT THE PUBLIC MAY KNOW*