Whitewash by LGO

The final draft of the Ombudsman Decision was dated 15-April-2015. That Mr Lewis is cheating me of one month is not trivial. I realised the Council were more than just misinforming the Ombudsman and wrote to my then MP about it at the end of March before waiting for the final draft.

When I say more than just misinforming the Ombudsman they go on to use the ‘Findings’ to stymie any enquiry at all and that includes me.

The one example, I’m aware, of is a response to the MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan and that  was only the sixth attachment! South Tyneside Council will not say what the letter or what the contents of the other attachments are.

Mr Lewis made no apology for cheating me out of a month. The rather arbitrary time limit  at that time was three months.

Dear Mr Dawson
Complaint against South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
Thank you for your complaint. The time period for requesting review of the Local Government Ombudsman’s decision is three months (which would apply from March 2015). Could you therefore provide your grounds for a review of that decision and why your request could not have been made within that time limit?
Thanks.
Yours sincerely
Paul Lewis
Investigator

I  gave him quite a lot of examples of the misinformation but will just give one of the grossest here:

That a Senior Council Planner (# 31) thought that he could get away with passing off an unauthorised drawing from 1997 as a legal one from 1996 (#34) is shocking but sadly it appears to have worked, and it does not reflect very well on the office of the Local Government Ombudsman.

When you know that the Senior Planner had sent a copy of 1B after the demolition job had been done on the virtually identical 1A and it can be proved you will understand why he could not flatly deny my complaint:

The Council misinformed your inspector Adele Reynolds so my complaint against them was not upheld.

To finish Mr Lewis puts the following under the cover of a note of confidentiality (shades of STC using PROTECT):

Dear Mr Dawson
Complaint against South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council.
Thank you for the chronology to show why your complaint has taken so long to reach this office. However, after having read the decision by the Local Government Ombudsman in 2015, I consider that the matter of which you complain remains that of the lack of enforcement [1] by the Council. The Local Government Ombudsman gave you full and detailed reasons for reaching her decision.
Whilst you remain of the view that the building does not comply with approved plans, I see no reason why your argument could not have been made to this office within three months of the decision in 2015. That delay also makes any investigation of the matter more difficult given the length of time involved [2].
I consider that your latest complaint remains that of your previous complaint which has already been determined [3] (whether or not to your satisfaction) and the opportunity to request a review of that decision has passed.[4]
I will treat your complaint therefore as invalid and your complaint will not be investigated.

Yours sincerely
Paul Lewis
Investigator

1. the Enforcement Officer was not informed about either the of the variations from plan (height or width) or if he was, he did nothing about it.
2. the drawings and measurements do not change over time and the original frames are still in place;
3. he has rolled together the complaint about the Council misinforming the first Inspector with the complaint itself;
4. the latest from the Ombudsman is that the period has now been reduced to a month!

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