CLAE s23(8)

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

Anne SEEX was appointed as local government Ombudsman for the North on 30 September 2005. It appears from reports produced by the Ombudsman that the investigation into 05/C/11921 was initiated by Thomas the previous incumbent of the post.

A copy of CLA 1572 identified in the minutes of the Commission for Local Administration England (CLAE) minutes for 13 February 2007 is requested.

In the minutes of the 13 February 2007 CLAE meeting it was identified that:

SEEX was to become responsible for Lancaster because Jerry WHITE had links with THOMAS

WHITE was to become responsible for Trafford because SEEX had a personal connection with the Borough

and that REDMOND was to assume responsibility for Tower Hamlets from WHITE because Redmond's friend had ceased to be Chief Executive there [about 5 months earlier].

The CLAE identified that they used their powers under s23(8) of the Local Government Act 1974.

This states: The Commission for Local Administration in England shall divide England into areas and shall provide, in relation to each area, for one or more of the Local Commissioners to be responsible for the area; and where the Commission for Local Administration in Wales consist of more than one Local Commissioner they may, if they think fit, act in a similar way in Wales. A Local Commissioner may, by virtue of this subsection, be made responsible for more than one area.

Christine Gilbert (wife of Harrow MP and Govt Minister Tony McNulty and Harrow MP resigned from the position of Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets in about September 2006 to take up post as head of Ofsted. 'Cronyism' was identified as possibly existing in the press.

From 01 April 2007 the CLAE determined 'to transfer complaints about Trafford MBC from Anne Seex to Jerry White (because of a past connection between a relative and the Council).'

It seems very odd that Anne SEEX should fail to make the CLAE aware of her personal issues with Trafford for a period of about 18 months, and REDMOND making his ability to examine Tower Hamlets (apparent), and would doubtless be aware that his taking up the position at Tower Hamlets would enable him personally to exercise his discretion deflect any failures associated with the legacy of Ms GILBERT from becoming apparent.

It also seems very odd that Anne SEEX should take over 18 months to identify her personal connection with Trafford after her appointment. The CLAE are requested to identify when SEEX first made them aware of this impediment.

It further seems very odd that following transfer of complaints about Trafford to WHITE on 01 April 2007 that SEEX should then issue two reports on Trafford dated 26 July 2007 and 03 January 2008 (Ref: 05/C/11921). Despite having ceased being responsible for complaints related to Trafford some two months earlier (1st report of 26 July 2007).

The CLAE is requested to provide all documentation related to why THOMAS's investigation was completed by SEEX rather than WHITE. WHITE was identified as being responsible for determination of the Trafford Complaints by the CLAE on 13 February 2007, and the continuation of THOMAS's investigation. The CLAE had identified that SEEX was unable to investigate the complaint on 13 February 2007.

The CLAE is requested to transparently identify which Local Government Ombudsman should have been responsible for the issue of the Ombudsman reports of 26 July 2007 and 03 January 2008 (Ref: 05/C/11921) following the CLAE's decision of 13 February 2007.

The CLAE and Ombudsmen are further requested to provide any documentation that they might hold from government departments, ministers, MP's etc requesting that the Ombudsmen should seek to change the Council's for which they were responsible (prior to 13 February 2007)

Yours faithfully,

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

Hilary Pook, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

This is to acknowledge receipt of your email request, received on Friday
25 July.

I will respond to this as soon as possible. I will aim to reply within
the 20-working day target (which would be by 22 August). If I am unable
to do so, I will write to you again explaining why.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Communications & Records Manager
Local Government Ombudsman's Office
Tel: 020 7217 4734
www.lgo.org.uk

NOTICE - This message contains information intended only for the use of
the addressee named above. If you have received this message in error
please advise us at once and do not make any use of the information.

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Hilary Pook, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

Please find attached a letter in response to the request below, and
another attachment referred to in the letter.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Communications & Records Manager
Local Government Ombudsman's Office
Tel: 020 7217 4734
www.lgo.org.uk

NOTICE - This message contains information intended only for the use of
the addressee named above. If you have received this message in error
please advise us at once and do not make any use of the information.

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