Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Local Government Ombudsman service panned by MPs

UPDATED 27th July 2012 Local Government Ombudsman risks becoming 'pickled in aspic

Updates below original post.

MPs have delivered a scathing assessment of the Local Government Ombudsman service (LGO), saying it must conduct its own activities “with credible effectiveness” before it can criticise others.

The body which decides whether council services are up to standard should "raise its own game significantly", a report by MPs suggests.

Read the full story from the source Local Government Chronicle

Also from the BBC

The Local Government Ombudsman takes too long to deal with some cases and has to prove its value to the taxpayer, the Local Government Committee says.

Otherwise it will "undermine its own role and credibility", it adds.The committee's chairman, Labour MP Clive Betts, said: "LGO has been taking far too long to determine some cases. One of the ombudsmen conceded that the delay in determining some cases was itself likely to amount to maladministration.

"This must raise questions about the LGO's authority and credibility. The organisation needs to apply strict deadlines to all the cases that it handles."

The committee found the LGO needed to provide a "clear methodology to measure levels of customer satisfaction and publish the results".

It added: "It must also put in place arrangements to ensure there is an annual evaluation of its own activities and decision-making by an independent external reviewer, to ensure the LGO is itself fair, effective, open, transparent and accountable."

This reviewer should be appointed by the end of this year and report for the first time no later than Easter 2013, it added.

The cross-party committee said: "An organisation whose primary job is investigating and determining whether maladministration by others has taken place must itself take care to avoid maladministration by delaying justice. If it does not, it will undermine its own role and credibility."

Read the full story from the source BBC

And Local Gov

MPs have urged the Local Government Ombudsman to improve its performance in providing redress for public complaints about local services.

Clive Betts, chair of the CLG Committee, also called on the LGO to develop a clear methodology to measure levels of customer satisfaction and publish the results every year.

Read the full story from the source Local Gov

My comment: Another overpaid, not fit for purpose quango, which should have been scrapped altogether.

UPDATED 27th July 2012 Local Government Ombudsman risks becoming 'pickled in aspic

The body tasked with examining maladministration is lethargic and cumbersome and must modernise

...if the ombudsman challenged more local authority decisions and took on more cases I believe we'd have better council services.

But is the ombudsman up to that job? According to the communities and local government select committee, of which I'm a member [MP Simon Danczuk],[ it faces a number of challenges to get in shape.

The ombudsman should be the champion of those dissatisfied with their council's service. Of course the public should go through council complaint procedures first, which should themselves be speedy and efficient. But if the issue is not resolved then the ombudsman should pick up the complaint and act with vigour.

Read the full story from the source Guardian

My comment: At last the truth is out, the LGO are not fit for purpose.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Ex-councillor arrested

A FORMER councillor has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation just weeks after he met the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Richard Vallery-Peters, who lost his Hastings Borough Council seat in May, was arrested at his home in Ashburnham Road on Monday morning.

The 47-year-old former Navy rating was quizzed by detectives and later released on police bail.

The Observer understands his arrest relates to the wearing of military medals.

Sussex Police spokesman Andy Freeman said: “On Monday morning, police arrested a 47-year-old man from Hastings.

“He was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation. He was given police bail until August 6th.”

My comment: Will have to wait for the outcome before commenting.

Read the full story from the source Hastings Observer

Councillor suspended

Councillor Daniel Sutherland appeared at Calderdale Magistrates Court on July 10 to face a charge of assault by beating against the woman.

The 23-year-old councillor, of Valley View, Halifax, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address during the initial hearing at Calderdale Magistrates Court.

He pleaded not guilty to the incident that is alleged to have taken place after a party on June 24.

The case was adjourned for a trial at Bradford Magistrates Court on November 1, 2012.

A Calderdale Labour spokesperson said: “As soon as these serious allegations against Daniel Sutherland came to light his membership was suspended by the Labour Party with immediate effect.

My Comment: I will wait until the outcome of the trial before commenting.

Read the full story from the source Halifax Courier

Police Chief charged with perverting course of justice

A police chief and his wife were today [16th July 2012] charged with perverting the course of justice after she allegedly accepted speeding penalty points on his behalf.

Acting Deputy Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, Gordon Fraser, 48, was alleged to have been behind the wheel of a car when it was registered as going over the speed limit in Scotland.

His wife Teresa, 42, is accused of accepting the penalty points on his behalf and claiming she was behind the wheel.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service said today the incident was investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary due to Fraser’s links to the Leicestershire force.

'A criminal complaint was made alleging that Mrs Fraser had accepted responsibility for a speeding offence allegedly committed by Mr Fraser on 29 September 2011 in Strathclyde,' she said.

'Having carefully considered all of the available evidence, we concluded that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Mr and Mrs Fraser and therefore, authorised Hertfordshire Constabulary to charge them with doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice.

My comment: Sounds a bit like the Chris Huhne case.

Read the full story from the source Mail on Line

Read all articles about the Police on this blog