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Can We Trust the Ombudsman With Our Complaints?

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The local government ombudsmen are supposed to be there to represent the interests of the public but they have been accused of bias and maladministration. Can we really trust them with our complaints?

 

Watching the Watchmen

If somebody has an unresolved complaint about a local council then the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) is there to investigate whether it is justified, offer independent advice and act as an impartial referee between the two parties.

 

Or at least that is their appointed role - one group strongly believes that they are allied with the organisation they are assigned to guard and dismissive of those they are paid to protect.

 

 

 

The LGO Watch

The campaign consumer group, Local Government Ombudsman Watch (LGO Watch), has been set up in an effort to weed out bad practise within local English government by exposing the bias and maladministration within the Local Government Ombudsman’s office.

 

LGO Watch is far from the work of a few disgruntled complainants, even the LGO’s own customer satisfaction survey revealed that a whopping 73% of complainants were dissatisfied by the outcome of their individual cases. Since its founding in 2003, the Watch has amassed a legion of supporters nationwide, and a similar Scottish watch has since been set up to target the corruption in local government north of the border.

 

 

Pro-Council Bias Allegations

With less than 2% of submitted complaints declared by the LGO as maladministration, there is a certain weight to the claims that the tax-funded service is not wholly committed to securing justice for the public.

 

One reason the LGO Watch provides to explain allegations of pro-council bias within the office is the alarming fact that all three current LGOs were themselves previously chief executives of local authorities. In fact evidence shows that many of the LGO’s investigators previously worked in local government.

 

If you took a damning complaint about the local police force to an independent, publicly-funded investigation and adjudication group, would it be fair to have a former chief of that same organisation handle your case?

Edited by citizenB

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