s31LGO

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

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The request was successful.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

Would the Local Government Ombudsman provide all details of any expenditure it has incurred in relation to the identification of maladministration causing injustice by Trafford council and Trafford Council rejecting the Local Government Ombudsman's recommendations in relation to 'Carly'. Specifically, how much has the LGO spent in relation to an advertisement identifying that Trafford is a maladministering Council seeking to cause injustice as enabled by s31 of the Local Government Act.

Additionally would the LGO identify how many other Council's have following identification of maladministration and injustce simply changed Ombudsman,

Yours faithfully,

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

Hilary Pook, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

I attach a letter (ref CS/08/0021) in response to your request.

Regards

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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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Hilary Pook,

Many thanks for your prompt reply.

In relation to the newspaper advertisement I was aware that the Local Government Ombudsman ['LGO'] is able to reclaim expenses from the Council when the Council decides to ignore an Ombudsman's second report identifying maladministration causing injustice. I note that at the moment the LGO is exercising discretion and choosing not to identify maladministration causing injustice by Trafford Council.

I am additionally aware that the LGO is appointed following a recommendation being made by the Secretary of State and their Department by the Crown.

The Commission for Local Administration England [CLAE] provides the infrastructure for investigating complaints. The issue is that Trafford identified considerable dissatisfaction with the York Office (under the control of SEEX).. and then subsequently identified that they had requested a change of Ombudsman as they [Trafford] identified that the York Office was not fit for purpose.

Obviously, the change of Ombudsman by a Council is at the decision of the CLAE. Effectively, the CLAE identified that SEEX was not competent to be an Ombudsman by allowing Trafford to change Ombudsman's Office. If the CLAE were content with the service provided by SEEX they would not have allowed the discretion of SEEX to be questioned.

The question is.. how many times has the CLAE identified that an LGO is not fit for purpose by allowing a Council to change Ombudsman's Office - is Trafford the only case, and is SEEX the only LGO who has been identified by the CLAE as not being suitable to be a LGO.

It is acknowledged that resignation by SEEX is a personal issue for herself. However, clarification on the CLAE's understanding is being sought.

Hopefully, this provides the clarification that you require.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Hilary Pook,

Many thanks for your prompt reply.

In relation to the newspaper advertisement I was aware that the Local Government Ombudsman ['LGO'] is able to reclaim expenses from the Council when the Council decides to ignore an Ombudsman's second report identifying maladministration causing injustice. I note that at the moment the LGO is exercising discretion and choosing not to identify maladministration causing injustice by Trafford Council.

I am additionally aware that the LGO is appointed following a recommendation being made by the Secretary of State and their Department by the Crown.

The Commission for Local Administration England [CLAE] provides the infrastructure for investigating complaints. The issue is that Trafford identified considerable dissatisfaction with the York Office (under the control of SEEX).. and then subsequently identified that they had requested a change of Ombudsman as they [Trafford] identified that the York Office was not fit for purpose.

Obviously, the change of Ombudsman by a Council is at the decision of the CLAE. Effectively, the CLAE identified that SEEX was not competent to be an Ombudsman by allowing Trafford to change Ombudsman's Office. If the CLAE were content with the service provided by SEEX they would not have allowed the discretion of SEEX to be questioned.

The question is.. how many times has the CLAE identified that an LGO is not fit for purpose by allowing a Council to change Ombudsman's Office - is Trafford the only case, and is SEEX the only LGO who has been identified by the CLAE as not being suitable to be a LGO.

It is acknowledged that resignation by SEEX is a personal issue for herself, as she is dependent on the recommendation of the Secretary of State and their Department for their appointment. Clarification on the CLAE's understanding is being sought, as if Trafford is the only case where the CLAE has allowed a Council to change Ombudsman, and if SEEX is the only LGO where this occurred.. I would have thought that Ms SEEX was likely to have embarrassed the Secretary of State and their Department... and the CLAE.

Obviously, if my understanding is flawed you will advise that there has been more than one occassion where Ombudsmen Office have been changed at the request of a Council (particularly after two reports of maladministration causing injustice) on the same issue that the Council rejects as being the case.

It is noted that Jerry WHITE stated in the Annual letter to Trafford dated June 2008 :

'My staff tell me that they find working with Trafford is positive and constructive. I would like to thank the Council for the forward looking way in which it continues to handle complaints and, as I say above, its willingness to put things right when they have gone wrong. And I am very much aware what a personal contribution particular members of your staff make in this important area of service delivery. '

The opinion of WHITE and his staff appears to be very different to SEEX and her staff who had two reports of maladministration causing injustice rejected by Trafford. It would appear that WHITE and his staff identify that investigations conducted by SEEX and her staff were not competent.

Hopefully, this provides the clarification that you require.

Yours sincerely,

Hilary Pook, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Carruthers

I attach a letter in response to the email below, and your previous
email of 18 July.

Regards

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.

show quoted sections