Read All About It!
IN THE UK SCORES OF OMBUDSMEN ARE INDIVIDUALLY LICENSED TO KILL YOUR COMPLAINTS.
The good name earned by Scandinavian Ombudsmen is now compromised and the brand tarnished. Lawyers, journalists, broadcasters, students of politics, fellow bloggers – If what follows doesn’t worry you, it is YOUR loss as well as mine. Here they were shooting on sight! Here is the killing zone!
On 23 December, just before Christmas, Kristianne James – the investigator – sends me an email saying that as I challenge her decision she is referring it to the Ombudsman. I tell her that I have more to say, and that I intend to write to Kathryn Stone direct. I also said that I intended to write to the office of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice.
On 28 December, immediately after Christmas, I sent those letters with copies to Kristianne James.
On 30 December a great shock to my system. I received an email from Kristianne James despatched on the 29 December with a letter attached stating the following:
“It would be more suitable for the issue to be dealt with by a court, by arbitration or by another complaints (or costs-assessment) scheme (Rule 5.7(g))
My final decision on this issue is that the complaint should be dismissed under Rule 5.7(g).
In light of my decision this case will now be closed. We will not normally consider reopening a case unless the circumstances are exceptional.”
My first great surprise was the name of Samantha Argyle “Ombudsman” at the foot of the letter. I expected Kathryn Stone’s, the Legal Ombudsman. The letter said that she had read my letter to Kathryn Stone. As you will see she had paid scant attention to it.
All became clearer when I realised that, along with Samantha Argyle, Mariette Hughes, Paul Lawton, Steven Pearson, Andrew Burford, Laura Barker, Jason Chapman, Amanda Charlton, Darren Cox, Clair Daniel, Siobhan Fennell, Jodie Handley, Louise Hopkins, Shamaila Hussain, Joshua Jackson, Louise Smith, and Simon Williams were all designated Ombudsmen. What a commentary on the legal profession by the way to need so many!
It was in this context that Kathryn Stone was designated Chief Ombudsman.
Are these seventeen properly named Ombudsmen? Or is this a bureaucratic misnomer? Aren’t they just apparatchiks? If you look at their profiles ask yourselves whether they should be empowered individually to have the last word without any appeal to the Chief Ombudsman. And you might well ask what the Chief Ombudsman is there for if not for that purpose.
Exactly same can be said about Dr. Jane Martin the Local Government Ombudsman. I am jumping ahead of myself.
The second thing that shook me was the sudden speed of everything , the positively indecent haste, and over the Christmas holiday period too! This was the second time. Before December 20 prevarication had been the norm.
On 3 September I had submitted the complaint. On 20 December, after 15 weeks’ delay, 20 email reminders, 3 telephone calls and an unanswered letter, Kristianne James emailed me to say that she was the Investigator and under Rule 5.7(g) she dismissed my complaint. She didn’t even stop to ask me to identify the bad service their remit requires them to address. And by 30 December, it was all over.
Not much turkey for Kristianne and Sam this Christmas, only a very hot, totally indigestible potato. For me a truly Kafkaesque situation.
This is what I had put in my letter to Kathrny Stone about Kristianne’s decision.
“Instead she immediately jumped to the entirely wrong conclusion. She summed this up in an email when she wrote: “Simply, as a lay organisation, we are not in a position to analyse and determine if the firm’s advice was right or not.” That was not what she had to do.”
“What she should have recognised was that at this stage her task was actually a very simple one, one that a fifteen year old child could undertake. She simply had to go back to Bindmans and ask them to do what Stuart Knight (on behalf of the Legal Ombudsman) had told them that they should do, namely to answer one by one my criticisms of their Advice. Only if and when they did so would the question arise as to whether she had sufficient expertise to evaluate the response. Only then, if it was not, could she invoke section 5.7g of your Scheme Rules and dismiss my complaint.”
Wasn’t speed here to ensure that the case that could not be re-opened? No worry then for the office of the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice or for Kathryn Stone. And no worry for quite a few other people as well.
I shall explore this further as the story unfolds. In my next post I shall help you to understand why I take this so seriously and what it is all about.
- The Media Report the News, but do they miss the Big Story? 101 cyclists killed last year, 18,220 seriously injured. Don’t just blame drivers. — ‘We’re careful, say drivers who speed and jump traffic lights.’ The headline for the news report in The Times on 19th November 2018 came...
- The Mandarins in Whitehall – A Voice from the Past. Does this explain the Grenfell Tower Inferno? — Tidying my office and binning old paper I came across this cutting from The Times dated7 August 2006. I will let extracts speak for...
- NHS – Correct a 70-year-old Design Fault. The Future must not be the Day before Yesterday. — “Care in Europe is safer than NHS, death rates reveal” The Times 2.4.2015 page 35 – WHY NO COMPARISON WITH GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND THE...
- When is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism? When it is OTT. Jeremy Corbyn’s Banana Skin? — The UK is not anti-Semitic. Once maybe. Some maybe. There is a record of anti-Semitism in the UK chronicled in Trials of the Diaspora...
- War, Bloodshed and Anti-Semitism – Is God Exclusive or Inclusive? — The destroyed old Mosque of The Prophet Jirjis in central Mosul, Iraq, on July 27, 2014. (AP) For 2,000 years God has been...
- Madness outsourcing road planning from Cycling lobby AND paying them — Three cheers. The High Court has put a stop to CS11, the proposed cycle superhighway from Portland Place in central London to Swiss Cottage....
- KAFKA’S CYCLE – Fake Democracy? – A Sequel to “Death of a Nightingale” — (Coming in the Autumn) My Blog provides a running commentary on a Complaint. This is an edited version of it. Those...
- INTERLUDE – Alice in Blunderland – the Mad Hatter’s Committee Meeting — The Mad Hatter was in the Chair. “Order, Order” he cried, and Disorder clumped noisily out of the room. “The Minutes of the...
- Who are the really guilty ones? Authors of the 2006 Building Regs. Grenfell Tower Inferno could happen again … Tomorrow! — It’s now just over a year since Grenfell Tower burned alive 72 of its residents. What distinguished it from all other flat and...
- The Fly Swatter and his Torch – Do you really want twice as many cyclists in the UK by 2040? — Ever wondered why there are so many cock-ups? Here’s another one in the making as I write. Visit my website and you will...