Palmer and Co

When I talked with Mr Palmer on the afternoon of the 13th January 2020, 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 her Office and he had a mailbox. I have discovered since that they can be given out locally and in this case I rather think it was Mr Buck rather than Emma who created it for Mr Palmer.

I had not included Mr Buck when I complained to her about Mr Palmer’s response to my call to her office that afternoon, and I cannot remenber why:-

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“.

Nearly half an hour later later, I received a standard request asking for my personal details but by then I had closed up and prepared to settle down for the night. When I checked the following morning for any response I realised that someone must have been reading the emails to her office and it could not have been Mr Buck. To say Mr Palmer was prepared to give any support was clearly an understatement but the main thing was that he suggested that I complain again to the Ombudsman which was why I had attached the letter from Peter Dunn and Co.

I’d mentioned the Local Councillors because before the New Year 2020 Emma had said:-

Re: Complaint: 248789 – Unplanned Development on River Drive
From: Emma Lewell-Buck
Date: 23/12/2019 (16:09:38 BST)
Cc: Cllr Angela Hamilton, Nicola Robason, Cllr David Francis, Alison Hoy
Good afternoon Mick,
I am aware Angela and David are dealing with this, please can you let me know if there is anything needed from me.
Best wishes, hope you have a lovely Christmas

I was aware that South Tyneside Council were quite happy to give misinformation to Ombudsman and it appeared they were also quite happy repeat the same lies to their Monitoring Officers so I changed tack and switch my second email to Emma to copy them instead of the Councillors. Mr Palmer was still included of course but I wished to compare the conduct of the two Monitoring Officers, Mr Harding and that of the later Monitoring Officer:-

Nicola Robeson does respond and she has confirmed that UK Docks were not given permission for their shed retrospectively which makes one wonder why they told you and Angela that they had.

Yet it Mr Buck who had responded to the second email with:-

Dear Mr Dawson, Thank you for your email sent this morning following from Mr Palmer’s telephone conversation to you yesterday afternoon. I wish to address two points you raised. I was present during the conversation between Mr Palmer and yourself. I am afraid your recollection of the conversation was not a true account. Mr Palmer was polite, informative and accurate.

Mr Buck was implying that I was not polite and painting a false picture of the situation and I would like to point out that if a structure is found to be 2.7m taller than an approved drawing shows, it is not a lie to suggest it is nearly 3m taller than planned.

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, I 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:-

  1. Mr Palmer had been copied the letter from Peter Dunn and Co but Mr Buck had not.
  2. 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 (mick.dawson@theharbour.view) had been freely communicating with Emma Lewell-Buck for some years.
  3. Instead of the defensive response (Page 2) I should have ridiculed Mr Palmers suggestion that I complain further to the Ombudsman and seek legal advice.

First observation re phone call: I had already sought Legal Advice.
Second observation pre phone call, Mr Buck has changed the argument as to whether South Tyneside Council were misleading the Ombudsman to hide the fact that their complaints procedure was being misused – to one about whether an MP has influence over the Ombudsman or not?

The difference between the first and second is that there were divergences from plan were material but the Council deny it while 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.

Re: Correspondence with the Office of Emma Lewell-Buck Date: 15/01/2020 (08:52:37 AM GMT)
To: BUCK, Simon Cc: Keith Palmer, Cllr Angela Hamilton, Cllr David Francis, Hayley Johnson, Customer Advocates

Dear Mr Buck,
As far as I remember Mr Palmer was indeed polite and I hope you thought I was as well. Whether he was accurate is another matter. It would have been courteous for Mr Palmer to have introduced himself. I assumed that when I gave you permission to pass my home phone number to him he had become Emma's new office manager after her re-election. Please see trail below.

The trail below included the emails sent to the MP following the phone call of the 13th January. The first two attachments were to those emails and referred to on the page above, the third Dishonesty at the Town Hall referred to an email to the MP and should be self explanatory and Mr Palmer would have done well to read it before he got me blacklisted.
Maybe he had read it and that was why I was blacklisted.

The last was a reference to time when I complained to the Chief Executive that his staff were lying to the Ombudsman except I did not quite put it like that. If I had given myself a day or so to reflect I would not have even broached the subject and certainly not re-labelled it as ‘donottalkabouttheheight’.

Put simply, the misrepresentations made to the Ombudsman in originated in complaint 2478789 but the response from the ‘Council’ referred to complaint 253539 which was not raised by me but by the Head of Development Services to hide the misdoings of his planning staff.

If you look at 248789, it gets worse, it is wheels within wheels:

  • it does not refer to the original complaint but an escalation of it to the next stage made on 14th January, see email to planning 14/1/14. Mr Dawson asking various questions relating to the ongoing development at the slipway, River Drive, South Shields, the original complaint has been over written;
  • complaint 248789 has been overwritten by the person responsible for the next stage – see main complaint 253539.

One would have thought that a claim that his staff were giving misinformation and or misrepresentation to the Ombudsman would have been given some consideration but it was not even logged. Maybe it was because I asked him:

I ask you to look again at this because there is a clear contradiction between what the Council were telling the LGO and what is known. Why your staff should misrepresent the facts to the LGO is for you to determine. That they have misinformed the LGO should be admitted and corrected and that is what this letter is about.

Such a simple question and not unrelated to Mr Palmer’s presence in the MP’s office in South Shields some years later.


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