Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Local Government Ombudsman "cannot investigate something that affects all or most of the people in a council’s area."

Within the context of the larger picture of the how central government seems to be undermining the Local Government Ombudsman:
Futures Forum: Fears for the future of the Local Government Ombudsman...
it is disturbing how the District Council in turn seems intent on undermining the authority of the LGO's latest decision:
How to avoid blame and criticism – oh, and EDDC’s view is that they don’t have to take any notice of the Local Government Ombudsman if they don’t like what she says | Sidmouth Independent News

*194 Local Government Ombudsman findings 

The Chief Executive presented this report which outlined the actions taken and learning points arising from a recent finding of fault by the Local Government Ombudsman. Although the Ombudsman’s recommendations were not legally binding, the Council always took them into account as a way of improving its services and procedures. The Ombudsman’s final decision notice was appended to the report. 

The Chief Executive had forwarded a copy of the Cabinet report to the Ombudsman in advance of the meeting. The Ombudsman had responded positively by advising that she was impressed by the level of detail and the quality of the report. The Ombudsman had extended her thanks and had recorded that the remedy actioned had fully addressed her findings. 

RESOLVED that the findings against the Council together with actions taken by way of remedy and key learning points identified, be noted. 

REASON The Council is committed to learning from complaints and making sure that where procedural error is identified, this is quickly remedied and prevention measures taken. 


Whilst the LGO has indeed found 'fault' with the District Council:
Local Government Ombudsman found EDDC at fault | East Devon Alliance
the District Council can simply declare that it will take 'actions' to 'remedy' matters - and that's it:
EDDC has addressed recent fault found by Ombudsman | Save Our Sidmouth

Moreover, the LGO has very little to say anyway about the goings-on within the District:

Local Government Ombudsman: clarification of her powers

April 10, 2013 by sidmouthsid 1 Comment

She cannot investigate something that affects all or most of the people in a council’s area. 
(Local Government Act 1974, section 26(7) ).

Those who have submitted, or are about to submit formal complaints against councillors or other public servants, please note. 


Anita Jennings
April 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

There is nothing new about this statement. As far as I know, the Local Gov. Ombudsman has always been restricted to taking up complaints based on injustice to the person lodging the complaint. The big change that happened some 12-15 years ago is the introduction of “local settlements” which boil down to the complainant receiving a financial compensation for the injustice he/she has experienced, GIVEN that he/she keeps the results of the investigations under wraps and does not publish them in the local press. Anyone who takes the trouble to read the Annual Reports issued by the LGO will find a list of these “Local Settlements”. The FULL investigations by the LGO which are published take longer to process and their incidence has dropped in comparison what used to happen before the late 1990s. The last time I looked into these figures, the number of complaints lodged p.a. was getting smaller — hardly surprising! Further information can be found on the website of the watchdog which watches the watchdog — try googling Ombudsmanwatch.

Local Government Ombudsman: clarification of her powers | Save Our Sidmouth

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