Threat by the Council’s Corporate Lead

In response to my claim that South Tyneside Council have been giving misinformation and or misrepresentation to the Local Government Ombudsman, the Council’s Corporate Lead, Strategy and Performance – Hayley Johnson says, 1-Aug-16:-

“There is no evidence to suggest that there has been deliberate misinformation provided by Council officers to the Local Government Ombudsman”.

It is an outright lie of course but to stifle any response she goes on to to misuse a section of the Council’s Staff code (F*) to silence any criticism by saying that I have refused to accept the decision of the Council or Local Government Ombudsman, by arguing points of detail and adds the threat:-

“I now consider this matter closed. Should you continue to repeat historic complaint issues in your contacts, we will consider imposing formal restrictions on your contact with the Council”

The plans authorised in 1966 are proof the UK Docks’ shed is 2.7m taller than planned and shows that our historic complaint is entirely reasonable and she was advised that I had consulted a solicitor about it. I say ‘our’ complaint as I was one of at least 20 people who had complained in 2013 that the shed was taller than planned.** I had written, 2-Sep-16:-

The Solicitor’s view, off the record, was that UK Docks, in saying they were building the shed to approved plans when they were not, was probably criminal fraud but the police were unlikely to act on a planning issue.

I then gave Mrs Johnson an example of how the Ombudsman had been deceived by the Council. All the drawings have the root 8296. She was told 1A was not authorised and 1B was drawn in 1967 and I go on to say:-

As both ../1A and ../1B show the river end to be 15.5m it is therefore equally reasonable for me to say that the road end is 12.8m. If, as the Planning Managers says, they are consistent with authorised drawing 8296/2 (river end height of 16m, road end of 13m), it will only go to confirm that the river end height is correct at 15.5m and not the road end.

It would appear that that my response did not please the Chief Executive, Mr Swales nor his Head of Development Services, Mr Mansbridge, because by 2016, both were implicated in the fraudulent misrepresentation that UK Docks shed had been built to the approved height:-

From: "Customer Advocates"
Date: Fri, September 16, 2016 11:42 am
To: ""
This email has been classified as: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Dawson
Thank you for your email and the copy of the letter sent to Mrs Johnson.
Mrs Johnson received your letter on her return to work 12 September and
acknowledges its receipt.
For your information Michaela Green (nee Hamilton) is currently on
secondment and therefore your email will be considered along with 
the letter to Mrs Johnson.
You will be contacted in due course following further checks into
this matter.
Yours sincerely
Alison Hoy
Performance and Information Support Officer
Customer Advocacy
South Tyneside Council

Mrs Hayley Johnson had already carried out her threat to section me because my email to her of the 2nd September and the copy to Customer Advocacy on the 3rd were never answered. Confirmation of the threat to section me had been already actioned was received on the 5-Oct-16:-

“We will not acknowledge or respond to any issues that have already been the subject of investigation by the Council, or by the Local Government Ombudsman. Any such correspondence from you will be read and placed on file, but we will not acknowledge or respond to it.

Contrary to what Ms Hoy had written, my letter to Mrs Johnson was never considered and one can add the add Mr Harding, the Head of Legal Services, to the Executive (Mr Swales and Mr Mansbridge) for Mrs Johnson had added:-

“If you have concerns that I have provided incorrect information in this letter and you wish to request a review of my decision, you should contact Mike Harding, Head of Legal Services, by writing to him at the address below: Town Hall and Civic Offices Westoe Road South Shields Tyne and Wear NE33 2RL.

Logic, if nothing else, had dictated that I would have been wasting my time as well as Ms Hoy’s if I had bothered to respond, following Mrs Johnson’s letter of the 5th October, by writing to Mr Harding. There is still a letter to him complaining about the conduct the Council Solicitor, Ms Hayton on the 19th April 2019 that remains unanswered.

When I started my Shed and Corruption Series last year someone at the Town Hall realised very quickly where it was heading and while I was compiling the third post, I received a letter from a Ms Abbott who had been directed by Ms Hoy into applying the rewrite of Section F (Complaints Policy 2019v1.5 Reviewers: Hayley Johnson, Ros Watters and Alison Hoy).

Ms Abbott quotes from a supposed letter from Ms Hoy of the 28-Aug-18:- I am writing to you following Ms Hoy’s letter to you of 28 August 2018, advising that the contact restrictions which had been imposed on your contact with the Council had been lifted. The letter advised you that we would continue to monitor your contacts with the Council, and should you attempt to resume your historic complaint, that we would take similar action in the future, should the need arise.

I say supposed letter because I have no record of it and it would be a waste of time asking either of them for a copy it because they have between them updated the Corporate Lead’s device for corrupting the Council’s Complaints Procedure i.e. the misapplication of Section 7.

What Ms Hoy had not told Ms Abbott was that there had only ever been one complaint to the Ombudsman that the Council had been giving misinformation to them and that had been dismissed because the second Inspector for the Ombudsman had said that that complaint remained that of my complaint to the first Ombudsman which was that UK Docks’ shed off River Drive, South Shields, was nearly three meters taller than planned. Pease see her summary at the foot of this document.

She had possibly not understood that when the authorised plans say what the river end of the shed should have a height of 15.5m and it was built to a height of 18.2m, it is not built to the approved height, it is 2.7m taller than planned.

I had explained in great detail to the first Ombudsman how the shed was taller than planned but she was persuaded otherwise by a Senior Planning Officer of South Tyneside Council as one can tell by her Summary, added as a footnote.

MD, 7-Sep-22

* in 2016, changed to Section 7 in 2019.

** it looks as if I though I was the only one who had taken the complaint about the shed being nearly 3m taller than planned as far as the Ombudsman or if they had, they would have been told:

Summary: This complaint is not upheld. In 2013 a developer resumed building a boat shed for which he had planning permission and had started building in 2001. Local residents complained but the Council found the developer could still build the shed. However, the developer built it almost a metre wider than he should have done. There is no evidence of fault in the way the Council dealt with the breach of planning control and its decision not to take enforcement action. It kept residents informed throughout the process. The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be. The Council says it is not. There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height.