When I talked with Mr Palmer on the afternoon of the 13th January, I assumed that I was talking with new manager of the MP’s Office in South Shields because the phone number given was that of the MP’s Office.
I discovered that he was not the new Manager when Mr Buck responded to emails to the MP the next day.
I felt I was let down when I realised Mr Buck had not responded to the email to the MP of the evening before when I asked of her:- “What I really needed from you was your support and Mr Palmer has indicated by our exchange over the phone that he is not prepared to give it. At the end of the day the Council are misusing the Ombudsman’s Office to hide malpractice then use their findings to deflect any enquirers after the truth“.
I was also disappointed to discover that Mr Buck had not questioned Mr Palmer on his views which were so obviously at sorts the those of the MP, myself and the local residents, but worse, I was bit more than concerned that between the pair of them they had changed the context of the complaint:*
- from misusing the services of the Ombudsman;
- to the implied suggestion that an MP should try to influence the Ombudsman’s decision .
By the time Mr Buck got to Mr Palmer’s suggestion that, “a possible course of action may be to complain further to the Local Government Ombudsman.” I was getting a little annoyed because the Council misrepresent the facts to the Ombudsman so that any complaint is not upheld or dismissed and UK Docks is a good example.
By the time I got to Mr Palmer’s suggestion that, ‘he took legal advice’, my mood had changed to one of contempt which was not good for a number of reasons. One of them being that the obvious is often over-looked:
- Mr Palmer had been copied the letter from Peter Dunn and Co but Mr Buck had not.
- I did not copy the case notes, ZA4803 to Mr Buck because it was would be a reasonable assumption the he would be aware that I (firstname.lastname@example.org) had been freely communicating with Emma Lewell-Buck for some years.
- Instead of the defensive response (Page 2) I should have ridiculed Mr Palmers suggestion that I complain to the Ombudsman and seek legal advice.**
*1 The complaint raised in January 2014 was changed from, UK Dock’s shed had not been built to the approved plan and no enforcement action taken, to one of: whether there was any material divergence from plan or not?
*2 The observation pre phone call, was changed from, South Tyneside Council were misleading the Ombudsman to hide the fact that their complaints procedure was being misused, post phone call to one of: whether an MP has influence over the Ombudsman or not?
The difference between 1 and 2 is that there the divergences from plan are material but the Council deny it but there is no argument at all with Mr Buck’s saying that “Mr Palmer correctly informed you that MPs have no influence over the Local Government Ombudsman”.
I was not saying that MPs should try and influence the Ombudsman, I was suggesting that MP’s make it a criminal offence for individuals to lie the Ombudsman which is completely different.
** I wrote and thanked Mr Buck on the 24th January for removing the blocks on my informing the MP of what happening in her office but it appears that Mr Palmer must have taken exception to the suggestion, “I think we can make a case for her and Angela seeing the Chief Executive and putting him on the spot as they did UK Docks in March last year but we can only do that by working together. Not only did UK Docks shoot themselves in the foot over say they had planning permission, they blasted a hole through the Town Hall’s claim that the shed had been approved.“