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LGO - I'm so mad!!!

(21 Posts)
appropriatelytrained Wed 08-Jun-11 14:44:04

I went to the LGO with a complaint about DS's lack of provision in his statement. Isssued in Jan - by May still no S&LT and a variety of other things

They have come back to me today with a finding of no maladministration, yes there's been delay but there has been no delay in making the arrangements to put the provision in place?? And the LA have apologised for the delay???

Anyway, the most annoying thing is they have literally just accepted what the LA have said - ie. the LA produced a paper timetable to tell the LGO that provision was now all in place. It's a nonsense. School would admit they still have not started laptop sessions for DS - four months after the provision of his statement.

I am really appalled that she has just dismissed this as 'my assertion' and told me to take it up with the school!!!

The fact is that my child was not able to be in full-time schooling for four months because of lack of provision, and he has waited three months after the issue of his statement and even after an LA apology, no basic S&LT provision and laptop provision was put in place. The latter is still not in place

She also says that my concern that I 'chose' to get involved in sorting out provision and that it is 'speculation as to whether [my]failure to engage in this way would have resulted in further delay'.

I really feel like I've been kicked in the face. What bias. The woman has clearly not even spoken to school.

Seriously, it is complete one-side nonsense yet it has taken months. She has not even noted DS's part-time schooling

davidsotherhalf Wed 08-Jun-11 15:17:39

lgo isn't allowed to talk to school or act on school failings ....we had problems last year and went to lgo they found 1 failing on lea part and 27 in school nothing could be done about this as schools only have to answer to governors and they didn't want to know. i went to our mp but he said it's a loophole in the law that schools can do as they like, it will take many years to sort the loophole out.

appropriatelytrained Wed 08-Jun-11 15:30:00

Yes, but, that is not what she is saying. She is saying the provision is in place because she has been given a copy of the timetable when the LA laptop team have not even been in to school

I will have to look up the law on this precisely to quote back.

davidsotherhalf Wed 08-Jun-11 15:39:52

we was in the same position, school saying we are providing everything from statement and they wasn't doing anything from statement eg statement states full time provision, school would only have dd 1 day a week...2 lessons music and drama....statement says nc and as far as i know this should include maths, english, etc.....school refused these lessons.....my list had 27 failings like this. i know how your feeling as i was so angry with lgo and school, education

appropriatelytrained Wed 08-Jun-11 15:48:05

But the school aren't saying that. The LGO are saying that because the LA sent them a timetable

davidsotherhalf Wed 08-Jun-11 16:12:18

i understand what your saying as the la said same about my dd provision to lgo and came up with a timetable that didn't exist at school. have you tried offsted?

appropriatelytrained Wed 08-Jun-11 17:57:26

I'm going to complain to the LGO as they have not even bothered to explain (a) why they have just taken the local authority's word (b) what evidence they have to support their conclusion

Am I wrong in thinking delay is delay and if it causes injustice it's maladministration?

This report seems to say, yes there is delay but so what.

appropriatelytrained Wed 08-Jun-11 21:34:16

Mmm looking at the law on the LGO and they can determine maladministration on the basis of breach of the law. The law says that if you don't have the provision in your statement, you have breached the law. End of. No 'best endeavours' or we tried hard etc.

This stupid woman has done her level best to justify why, even after acceptance by the LA that the provision is not in place, it was ok for them to break the law.

Just shows which side they're on.

WetAugust Wed 08-Jun-11 23:01:36

Hi
I complained to the LGO some year ago about failure to make suitable provision. LGO dragged their heels for months (original investigator was on sick leave) and then came back to me saying that, yes, it had not been handled well however they intended to close my case.

I immediately wrote back asking for a review of their decision as it appeared they were content tp overlook the LA's failings. I presented further evidence and a rebuttal of the evidence (lies) the LA had given to the LGO.

My complaint was then re-investigated by a different LGO officer and found in my favour. LA were instructed to apologise and review their internal procedures and I was awarded £250 compensation (barely covered the costs I had incurred in pursuinbg the complaint), BUT I had the satisfaction of having my complaint upheld.

So you should definitely write back to the LGO rebutting the LA's evidence and asking for a revision of your complaint. It's definitely worth doing.

During the course of my complaint I did some investigations about the LGO. Many people tghink the LGO is biased towards councils and it would appear that the majority of LGO officers are ex-LA employees, which must add doubt about their impartiality. However it was also clear that if the LGO did not reject your complaint outright and did actually investigate it was because there was almost certainly a prima facie case of maladministration to be investigated.

So point out the flaws in their reasoning and ask them to look at your complaint again.

Very best wishes.

appropriatelytrained Thu 09-Jun-11 00:28:57

Thanks, that's really helpful!

appropriatelytrained Thu 09-Jun-11 09:07:27

I should add Wet that this woman didn't even put any evidence from the Council in her report. No attempt to explain why she thought there was delay but 'ok delay'.

Also, on what ground did you take your case? It seems to me that lack of provision is failing to comply with the law. This woman based her entire response on whether there'd been delay.

So it seems, Council's can break the law by not putting provision in place, they can delay in putting provision in place, but as long as they've tried that's ok.

She also completely neglected to look at the issue of injustice. There was no mention of my child in the report save for reference to the fact he has a statement

I am really appalled and have written saying someone else should take over as this case has been handled improperly.

direlahere Thu 09-Jun-11 12:51:13

I wonder whether it may help if you make a data protection request to the LGO, if you do this at the same time as complain it won't cause any further delay and may shed some light on things for you. You may find evidence of information you wish to dispute or correspondence between the LGO and council that you weren't aware of.

I am not saying this is right, but my recollection is that the LGO can refuse to look at a matter if they feel the level of injustice is not great enough to warrant them doing so.

I am wondering if there needs to be a way that parents who approach the LGO but are not treated in a manner they perceive to be unfair, can pull together and present details of this to the appropriate department in government, perhaps through the measure up group discussed on this board, if that's something that they can monitor? It seems to me that if parents can evidence that there is repeated systemic failing rather than one off occurrences, then this would have to be looked at?

appropriatelytrained Thu 09-Jun-11 13:06:33

Thanks dire - I have made the DPA request with my complaint letter.

The issue here is that they have actually agreed to look into the matter and investigated it. They should then determine if the 'fault' ground alleged exists (e.g. delay, unlawful actions) and if it does, they should go on to consider injustice.

If both the 'fault' ground and the injustice are present and the fault has caused the injustice, then that is maladministration.

Here, they have ignored the fact that the LA have not acted legally, headed for the 'delay' ground and accepted it but then rejected it on a kind of 'best endeavours' basis. They have not looked at injustice.

Legally, the report seems to be a nonsense. But it also demonstrates procedural impropriety because it does not set out the basis for the decision evidentially but it clearly makes irrelevant and prejudicial remarks based on opinion.

I think dealing with these type of issues through a measure up group is a great idea and I am keen to get involved. It would stop parents feeling like they are fighting these battles alone and group pressure may be more effective.

direlahere Thu 09-Jun-11 13:38:00

Lets hope the group gets up and running soon, sounds to me as a relative newbie to these boards (although not to battling with services) that such a group is much needed.

Good luck with your complaint to the ombudsman and of course if LAs completed their own compaint investigations in an open and transparent manner with the aim of corrcting any injustice there would be no need for the LGO to look at the matters after exhausting internal complaints processes. Did you go through a multi stage complaint via the LA before going to the LGO?

In my LA the stage 2 investigating officers are not even recruited in an open manner, they are all introduced to the LA through routes other than open recruitment!! The service being complained about has far too much influence on the complaint outcome in my view so this is a waste of public funding as far as I can see if the process then comes under the scrutiny of the LGO and then the LGO complaints process. Surely would be better for judicial reviews to be publically funded?

appropriatelytrained Thu 09-Jun-11 13:44:32

I agree entirely. Interestingly, the LGO accepted that they could deal with my complaint even though I hadn't gone through a multi-stage complaint process with the council because it involved a child without provision and a breach of the law.

They then ignore all of that.

It seems to me an enormous amount of resources are applied to justifying unlawful actions and fighting parents' legitimate concerns ans contesting Tribunals unnecessarily etc. This often ropes in NHS professionals too.

So when they complain of lack of resources, I give it short shrift. Resources can be applied when they want them too.

direlahere Thu 09-Jun-11 14:05:33

Very interesting that they looked at your complaint because of breech and then the outcome was as it was.

I have one being looked at currently involving non provision over twelve months on from tribunal at which provision was agreed yet LGO have made me go through internal stages first even though the LA have not stuck to the time scales in the regs for handling of the complaint........wonder if there will be a finding of delay against the LA??

appropriatelytrained Thu 09-Jun-11 14:24:22

Their approach seems to be without rhyme or reason!

direlahere Thu 09-Jun-11 16:12:09

Wonder if it even makes sense to them!

WetAugust Thu 09-Jun-11 20:25:27

When I challenged the LGO's original decision I enclosed a point by point rebuttal of the LAs evidence and also pointed out the flaws in the LGOs findings.

My response was very very detailed - at least 30 pages of A4 arguing my case against each point.

Perhaps it was the sheer volume of paperwork that made them realise that I wasn't going to walk away from this one and prompted them to agree to a review.

The other point to make is 'distress' and how the LA's failure to follow due process, failure to act reasonably, failure to act promptly within reasonable timescales etc all contrubuted to cause unnecessary and avoidable distress.

I used that argument too.

Best wishes

appropriatelytrained Thu 09-Jun-11 20:31:51

Wet - I don't know what LA evidence is yet. It's not even referred t in her provisional report. Not a word. I've made a DPA application.

WetAugust Thu 09-Jun-11 21:24:38

Strange - all the letters etc that my LA sent in answer to the LGO's investigations were included in the decision.

I would go through the LGO's decision sentence by sentence and point out the inacuracies backed up by the relevant law / COP reference.

So, when the LGO said "ie. the LA produced a paper timetable to tell the LGO that provision was now all in place. It's a nonsense." - explain to the LGO why it's nonsense.

Or "School would admit they still have not started laptop sessions for DS - four months after the provision of his statement" - quote to the LGO the SN law that school has broken etc etc

Then summarise your case with a statement to the effect that you do not consider they have reached a reasonable decision based on the evidence provided and you wish to have your case reviewed

Just keep at 'em

Best wishes.

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