Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten evidence from Mike Rawson

I am writing to you as the Chairman of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

I was present on Monday during your Committees robust questioning of Ms Seex and Dr Jane Martin.

Unfortunately I missed the deadline for submitting written evidence but I feel strongly you and your colleagues should be aware of the treatment I have received from the Local Government Ombudsman in respect of a strong complaint I have made against my local council.

My complaint alleges maladministration and deliberate dishonest behaviour on the part of officers of the council when preparing a report for councillors.

I submitted compelling evidence to the LGO and was informed my complaint would not be investigated on the grounds I have not been personally affected by the council’s behaviour.

It seems the Ombudsman is angry with me for using the FOI Act to discover the costs to the taxpayer of this quango and for writing to government to suggest it be relocated from some of the capitol’s most expensive real estate at Millbank Tower.

I spoke to a number of people whose business has been personally affected by the actions of the council and they signed declarations repeating the allegations against the council and I handed the forms and my evidence to an investigator at Millbank Tower.

I enclose a copy of a letter I have received from a Mr Chris Upjohn. In the second paragraph he states they are not investigating my complaint further which would suggest they have carried out some investigation. When, in a telephone conversation with Mr Upjohn this morning, I pointed out no investigation whatsoever had been carried out he became quite rude and told me Ms Seex would not investigate the complaint in any circumstances as, “the time limit had now expired”!

When the Ombudsman refused to investigate my complaint, my MP, Charles Walker, asked Mr Norman Baker, MP, the Transport Minister, to whom could I take my complaint for investigation. Mr Baker, in his written reply to Mr Walker, suggested I go to the Local Government Ombudsman! I did, for the second time, and received the same response.

I am extremely dissatisfied with the treatment I have received and feel the Ombudsman is, in its present form, not fit for purpose. I look forward to reading the Committees report in due course.

Perhaps I should add one final comment Mr Betts. In a telephone conversation with one of the investigators last year I was told, “We are not answerable to anyone — we were set up to be at arm’s length from Parliament!” Such arrogance I find wholly unacceptable.

May 2012

Prepared 16th July 2012