Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Delay

A council spokesperson is on record stating that delay when handling a complaint is advantageous to them.

As a result many complainants are already exhausted by the council’s internal complaints procedure before they even take their complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

So any additional delay introduced by the Local Government Ombudsman is just plain wrong and unfair. However, the Local Government Ombudsman routinely uses delay as a tactic to block or at least significantly delay valid complaints of maladministration.

The Ombudsman uses a number of different methods to ensure that the complainant is exhausted by the complaints procedure before they have exhausted the complaints procedure.

There are exceptions to the rule. Many people, such as the Balchins have the tenacity to persevere and eventually obtain the justice they so richly deserve.

One of my favourite arguments is how can the Local Government Ombudsman claim be effective if it takes years for them to resolve a complaint.

However, hundreds if not thousands of complainants just give up every year adding to the substantial number of valid complaints that unfortunately bite the dust.

Here are just a few of the ways the Local Government Ombudsman introduce unnecessary delay into their proceedings. There are many more but the following should at least provide an illustration of the depths An Ombudsman will sink in order to help their friends and ex colleagues in the council.

They just ignore your correspondence altogether. Altogether this ploy has been used on me three times over the last 9 years. During 2002 I had to re submit a second copy of a complaint in order to get their attention. They admitted that they had received my earlier correspondence and although I received an apology for their failure to respond I never received an explanation.

They ask for information that they already have in their possession. This has happened to me on a number of occasions over the last 9 years. Following submission of my second complaint they asked for information that was already included in my correspondence on at least three occasions.

They unnecessarily ask for clarification. This has happened to me on a number of occasions over the last 9 years. They often seek clarification on points that a five year old would be able to understand. This puts the complainant to the time and trouble of providing further explanation.

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