Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten evidence from Mr D A Burnett

Please find below our questions and recommendations I am deliberately going to keep this simple, so that there can be no misunderstanding the question, as this will force straight answers.

Questions

1. Why is it that the percentage of complaints investigated by the L.G.O so overwhelmingly favour the councils

To put this in perspective out of 168 cases involving Somerset County Council, only three appellants were supported, that is less than 2%, when than national average for tribunals is from the research I have done about 38%. One doesn’t have to be smart to see that there is a big problem, they will no doubt say its because the councils are doing a fair job, will all know that’s not the case.

2. Why does the L.G.O not use the current and normal form of investigating practice, as prescribed by law

They will probably say that they rely on councils to do the investigating, and simply check to see if they have filled the right forms, or words to that effect. The reality is however that they should be investigating independently as their charter seems to require. That is where it all falls down, they are not independent or impartial. As the law requires them to be.

3. From my own experience it appears that the L.G.0 does not have any in house legal experts, our use any other legal advisors in the pursuit of justice and current working practice

4. The L.G.0 doesn’t have an adequate way of get in re-dress, because it does not have the political will or independent integrity to be seen by other public sector organizations as supporting the public, they don’t find maladministration because they aren’t looking for it, its only if they can’t hide it, that it comes to light and then they only suggest ways of redress

To us it is blatantly clear that the L.G.O does not wish to get involved in forcing councils to act in a responsible manner and seems to be doing its best to cover up as much as it can, in order to allow second rate tactics and performance to continue as normal, no change there then, mission accomplished the status quo continues Does your investigation have the will to change any of the above???

Suggestions for Improvement of Service to the Public

1. In order to save the government and more importantly the public any more needless expense, than has already been incurred, and don’t forget the pension pot still to come

From the point of view, that it is INDEPENDANT of operation ,and administration of impartial investigations that are required by law, it is glaring obvious that the public sector organizations councils etc cant become independent of one another because they are all the same beast, all have the same style of management all are interlinked in some way, staff members flit from one to another at will, for example I once had the acquaintance of a senior manager in the quality car commission who was moved to a similar position in Ofsted.

So overnight he had gone from being an expert in nursing, to being a ruler of education.

With the best will in the world that is complete and utter nonsense, the management of the mad house The example above say’s it all and is without any doubt why the country is from an administrative view in the state it’s in. But none of you seem have the will to change it and probably don’t even see it.

The Suggestion for Improvement

There is in reality only one way of getting a fair view of any problem whether it be a tribunal or investigation of any kind, the public should have the say about 6 to 10 from all walks of life. Yes, a form of jury.

So I say get rid of the failed L.G.O and simply replace it with an investigating team, to sit on a selected number of days per week/month in every county, the members to be from all walks of life but with one legal member and one accountant, when required a doctor or R.G.N experts when required in all fields. These members could be selected in the same way as jurors or could be recruited from the ranks of the retired (but no public sector managers) they will be paid reasonable expenses, and a fee for the day. They will have a small clerical team as support possibly full time but mostly part time.

They could sit in magistrates courts on days they are free.

The conduct of the public sector managers will come up to standard overnight complaints will fall because they will no longer be unfairly protected.

The above will ensure that all are treated in a fair and even-handed manner and from the governments point of view it will save tens of millions per year, for all time from the public point of view democracy and justice will be seen to be done.

April 2012

Prepared 16th July 2012