LGO recommendation

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

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

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

I understand that in a recent survey conducted by a national charitable organisation (with a very long and distinguished history - Joseph Rowntree ) that the Local Government Ombudsmen have been identified as the main social evil affecting England and Wales.

As the Local Government Ombudsman is appointed on the recommendation of the Secretary of State and their Department. Would the Secretary of State and their Department identify if they took account of the numerous failures of the current Local Government Ombudsmen (REDMOND, SEEX and WHITE) to conduct inquiries whilst responsible for Council Complaints systems at Hackney, Norwich and Harrow and identified by their predecessors as having led to maladministration causing injustice into consideration before making their recommendations.

Would the Secretary of State further identify if since 1995 they and their Department have only recommended that the Crown appoint people to the position of Local Government Ombudsman - if it has been identified by an Local Government Ombudsman that the nominee has been responsible for maladministration causing injustice (through a failure to administer a just Council Complaints System), as evidenced by the Local Government Ombudsman's annual letters to Council's.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

A response to this FoI request was due no later than 19 August 2008, under the Freedom of Information Act you should have replied by now, and are breaking the law.

Please respond to the question, and provide any documentation. The DCLG replied to a different request yesterday and sought to it is understood to bundle this request with another request (Ref:F0002651). This request is not fully answered.

All that is now required in relation to this request is a reply based on the reports of the Local Government Ombudsmen as the Commission for Local Administration in England will have made available to your department, as its sponsor..

The question did not and does not relate to the appointments process, and guidance from the OCPA or Cabinet Office. Neither of them are responsible for the work of the LGO. The request relates only to information and documents that are held only by your Department.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS left an annotation ()

Request for Review by the Information Commissioner

Dear sirs,

On 21st July 2008 I wrote to the Department of Communities and Local Government requesting information under the Freedom of Information [‘FOI’] Act. The information requested was if the Secretary of State and their Department were aware that since about 1995 they were aware that they had only recommended people for the position of Local Government Ombudsman [‘LGO’] to the Crown who had been demonstrated by previous LGO for administering Council complaints systems that had been identified as causing injustice through maladministration. It was unambiguously identified to the Secretary of State and their Department that the request was based on information that they held as the sponsoring organisation for the Commission of Local Administration in England that collectively administers the activities of the LGO [TAB 1].

The Secretary of State and their Department are personally responsible for recommending individuals to the position of Local Government Ombudsman to the crown. The Secretary of State and their Department has failed to respond. On 20 August 2008 the Secretary of State and their Department were written to identifying that they were in breach of the Freedom of Information Act.

On 19 August 2008 William TANDOH on behalf of the Secretary of State and their Department had responded to a different FoI request, and sought to identify that the Secretary of State and their Department followed the guidance of the Cabinet Office in making recommendations to the position of LGO in relation to the first request [TAB 2]. This was not the information requested. The Cabinet Office are not responsible for sponsoring the Commission for Local Administration in England [‘CLAE’], and would be unaware that the Secretary of State and their Department were not using ‘common sense’ in their activities.

It was clearly and specifically requested of the Secretary of State and their Department to identify through their own documents if they were aware that the Ombudsmen had all been ‘convicted’ of maladministration causing injustice through the control of Council complaints systems. As a large number of formal reports were issued against the current LGO’s by the then current LGO’s many of which had to be issued as a Maladministration and Injustice report (as the Head of Paid Service disputed the finding of maladministration and injustice) it is reasonably clear that the understanding of the term has changed since the Secretary of State and their Department recommended the appointment of the current LGO’s. Indeed some of the current LGO’s have been responsible for issuing reports against their colleagues.

It is consequently believed that the Secretary of State and their Department has desired a change in the understanding of the term maladministration, and has sought to secure this through the individuals that they recommend to the crown for appointment as LGO’s. It is clear that the information must exist as the Secretary of State and their Department sponsors both all Local Council’s and the CLAE, and has had this role for many years.

The Secretary of State and their Department has failed to meet s10 of the FoI Act and because of this has failed to comply with s1 of the FoI Act.

The Information Commissioner is requested to identify breach of the FoI Act by the Department of Communities and Local Government and their Secretary of State, and require them to make the information requested available. It is requested that the Information Commissioner require the Department of Communities and Local Government and their Secretary of State to meet their obligations through the What Do They Know Site.

A copy of the request for the Information Commissioners intervention to cause the Department of Communities and Local Government and their Secretary of State to meet the FOI Act has been posted at: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/lg....

Yours faithfully

STUART HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS