Local Government Ombudsman

Deputy Prime Minister written question – answered on 7th February 2005.

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Photo of Oliver Letwin Oliver Letwin Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister

(1) what proportion of the staff employed in investigations on behalf of the Local Government Ombudsman previously worked in local government;

(2) whether the procedures for appointment of the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) have been altered since the last occasion on which a LGO was appointed.

Photo of Nick Raynsford Nick Raynsford Minister of State (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (Local and Regional Government)

Information on the proportion of the investigations staff of the Local Government Ombudsman who previously worked in local government is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Although the Local Government Ombudsman service falls outside the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA), new appointments will continue to be conducted in accordance with OCPA's guidance—as they were in 2001 when the last appointment was made.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No30 people think not

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Rita Grootendorst
Posted on 13 Mar 2005 10:32 pm (Report this annotation)

Hopelessly inadequate fob off. We are all funding these toothless watchdogs who do nothing to assist social justice or protect the public interest.
I am not surprised Mr Raynsford would not answer the question - he knows as well as we do that who and how they are appointed is wholly unsatisfactory.

Parliament ought to apply rigour and constant scrutiny of the LGOs. Any corporation can correct mistakes very quickly if it wants to. Neither the LGO nor councils appear to want to improve services to the public, the surveys offer a conservative estimate about the lack of satisfaction with the "service" that simply whitewashes and entrenches councils bad attitudes. We have offered to the select commitee a blueprint that would offer best value to the public - let's see if it gets adopted.

Gary Powell
Posted on 12 Apr 2005 1:07 pm (Report this annotation)

Is the reply to this Parliamentary Question serious? Just how difficult and expensive would it be for the Local Government Ombudsman to find out (if indeed he does not have a good idea already) how many of his Investigators previously worked in local government? There are only three LGO offices in England, and presumably they all have (or one of them has)a Human Resources Department with the 120 or so Investigator staff files. Even if it took as long as 2 minutes per file to establish from an application form whether the Investigator previously worked in local government, that would be only two hours' work. They could perhaps even hire a temp to do this two hours' work for them, and it shouldn't cost them more than £30. So the cost is hardly 'disproportionate'. The LGO institution is supposed to specialise in investigation, after all: can't they even successfully, economically and efficiently investigate how many of their investigating staff previously worked in local government? Another idea, if the LGO wants to save himself the 'disproportionate cost' of £30: presumably all his Investigators at the three LGO offices have e-mail addresses? What about getting a member of his secretarial staff to e-mail all the Investigators with the simple question whether they have ever worked in local government, inviting a 'yes' or 'no' answer? The only problem I would have with any answer to this question coming from the LGO's office is that I would not be inclined to believe it without external, independent validation, given my experience of dealing with the LGO institution and with the good people who have been caused injustice and misery by it. Why doesn't the LGO make a small effort to find out and disclose this information? Is he afraid the public will suspect the LGO institution of pro-council bias and cronyism if it finds out that a very large proportion of LGO Investigators are too closely linked to those they are investigating by virtue of their local government backgrounds? More details of LGO bias at http://www.ombudsmanwatch.org .

Trevor Nunn
Posted on 21 Oct 2005 11:29 pm (Report this annotation)

Fact. As of October 2005 all three Local Government Ombudsmen will have previously worked in a senior executive capacity for Local Government. Enough said. Poacher turned gamekeeper, no chance, they bury more maladministration for their ex colleagues and friends than ever. Their own statistics prove it. Findings of maladministrations of 1.6% don't make me laugh. The true level of maladministration is 30% and could be much higher if the Local Government Ombudsmen were not so biased.

Colin Cole
Posted on 19 Jan 2006 2:37 pm (Report this annotation)

Whenever Nick Raynsford has to answer a question about the Ombudsman system he is evasive to the point of deception . . . what is the point of serious questions in Parliamentary Question Time if all you get is replies like that . . . . "disproportionate cost" indeed . . .

First of all that is subjective . . . disproportionate to what? . . . . it's value? . . . or the risk of telling the truth? . . . what is the 'cost' of telling the truth? . . it shouldn't have a cost evaluation . . . not for simple questions like that. . . . The Right Honourable Gentleman is a disgrace carring on like that . . . and he knows it.

See My Case Against Jerry White LGO . . . http://www.croydoncouncil.info/page36.html . . or do a search on him . . . Jerry White LGO . . I'm proud to say I have taken his name to the top of Page 1 on most search engines.

Colin Cole

LGO Reporter
Posted on 2 Jan 2008 2:54 pm (Report this annotation)

The Local Government Ombudsman claims to be independent and impartial. Such a claim is a sham. A representative of the Local Government Association sits on the selection panel for LGO appointments. All three Local Government Ombudsmen are ex local authority Chief Executives, and its Investigators are ex local authority staff, inevitably compromising their impartiality.

See http://local-government-ombudsman-lgo.blogspot.com/

Trevor Nunn
Posted on 22 Jul 2008 4:49 pm (Report this annotation)

The information is now available. As at 1 May 2008. 68% of investigators worked in local government, 61% of assistant ombudsmen worked in local government, 100% of the three deputy ombudsmen worked in local government and 100% of the local government ombudsmen have worked in local government. How can complainants expect a fair deal when such a large proportion of ex council employees are now in control of the Ombudsman's office. It stinks.