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LGO the fight continues

(53 Posts)
inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 12:47:09

Some of you might remember my prolonged battle with the LGO - three provisional judgments and one judicial review preaction protocol later, they withdrew their final judgment.

That was in September.

Yesterday I receive an amended judgment. It's barely been altered save of course for a few comments to make me out to look worse (one outrageously uses a line from a letter sent by my MP to support me, as evidence AGAINST me).

The finding of maladministration made was first made back in July 2012 but could have been made on exactly the same evidence back in June 2011. The exoneration of the Council at that point was used as evidence of my 'vexatiousness'.

How on earth has it taken 6 months for them to alter a few words? They are truly crap. They must have thought I would have forgotten about by now.

To add insult to injury, the case went back to the same incompetent investigator who had already said in her last judgment that I must be vexatious as I had also bothered her with emails and copied other agencies in to her emails. Both accusations were entirely untrue and how could that have anything to do with the council's determination.

They have, again, used the Tribunal's determination that it was unfortunate that we removed our son from shit former school as he was doing so well as evidence that he must have been making progress. Yeah, right that's why he has 32.5 and not 20 hours on his statement now.

I am really tempted to name that crappy cow and just post a list of her lies and partiality.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 12:49:24

I would have the defence of truth as I would like to see her challenge any of what I am saying.

It really shows where the power balance is.

They fucked up this investigation from day 1 and let the council off the hook. Now they are squirming and lying because they daren't go back to the LA and unpick it all.

Easier just to fuck me over

bjkmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 12:53:28

what a load of rubbish - i am intending to go to the LGO once my tribunal is over and am expecting a battle. its pants when there are these things in place and they let you down so badly like this

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 13:32:52

I really wouldn't bother. They will snarl you up in years of toing and froing and they will side with the LA as default every time.

I think this seems to be a particular problem with the team dealing with schools. I had a complaint about my brothers social care which was dealt with promptly and well.

The Coventry team dealing with schools are appalling. They don't know the law, deny that guidance issued for them is actually for them, they make stuff up and they are sloppy.

For example, the investigator has said I had made the comment that the provision for SLT should be integrated into the school day but she could not see this in the statement. The statement says 'the provision should be incorporated into all the school's activities'. This isn't even a major point so why deliberately take the opposite position in light of the evidence.

Every time without fail, she has sided with the LA in the event of disputed evidence and frequently in the face of evidence.

They agreed to look into the conduct of LA officers who were circulating emails about me amongst themselves alleging alsorts of things and asking each other whether they should use this made up evidence at Tribunal. In one line she dismisses this as there was nothing inappropriate about the conduct of the officers with no reference or comment on the substance of the complaint.

The Council's policy says the vexatious determination must only be made as a last resort. This Council imposed it without warning two weeks before Tribunal, telling me I could no longer correspond with them on existing issues and they would only deal with substantial new issues.

All this woman has done is regurgitate the Council's reasons and said they followed their policy so who cares? Yet, how is a ban without warning a last resort. She also parrots their explanation that the person nominated as my point of contact was experienced with SEN matters and would have dealt with the working document so there was no problem.

Did the letter say that? No. I instructed solicitors to deal with them instead.

Avoid Coventry LGO office like the plague: they are biased fuckwits, too scared of upsetting LAs.

bjkmummy Fri 08-Feb-13 13:54:49

i know people say that a lot of the LGO people are ex council employees which makes it even harder for them to rule against the council which is just wrong. i didnt realised that the are different LGO offices - i may be okay in the sense that we are a small county so anyone from the LGO is going to be coming in from quite a long way and from a comppletely different authority. My LA as you know im fighting to tribunal next week but have found 90k so that there poor darling officers can take legal against against their own councillors for daring to ask questions. I have been amazed in my journey at the lengths they go to - i have had it where i received one version of a report and a completely different edited one was served on the tribunal - that is oneof the issues i will be taking to the LGO.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 14:01:21

It doesn't matter how far the LGO office is physically away from the LA, they are used to dealing with the same staff as Councils are assigned a particular office.

I also think that former LA staff, especially if they have been involved in the SEN system, are likely to have a particular mindset.

The idiot I am dealing with wrote in her letter with my last judgment that there was no point putting provision in place after the issue of a statement if we had appealed it as it was for Tribunal to sort out! That's not just siding with the LA but bending over backwards to provide an excuse for them to break the law!

Needless to say, the pre-action protocol letter has prompted her to withdraw such crap.

Icedcakeandflower Fri 08-Feb-13 14:50:54

The whole system seems so wrong - what hope is there for the average person to make sense of things sad

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 08-Feb-13 15:14:53

Just posting to let you know I have read this, and I'm sorry.

Can you send an open letter about one or two of the more obvious and easy points?

lougle Fri 08-Feb-13 16:37:36

Is there a stage beyond LGO? <clueless>

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 17:40:44

We can try and challenge it again with yet another pre-action protocol letter as they so clearly haven't even bothered to address one of the points in the previous letter and they must know that.

This is what makes me feel that the default reaction from these bodies is 'fob off' just to see how determined you really are.

The LGO are by far the worst I have dealt with as the willingness I have witnessed to accept everything said to them even in the face of conflicting evidence is entirely untrue.

The bottom line is that this lot have spelt out that, irrespective of the clear legal obligations that go with a statement, and the fact that it takes months to prepare one so that LAs are hardly taken by surprise at its issue, the LGO is quite happy for a child with complex needs to go for FOUR months without any provision.

Who do you think I should send an open letter to?

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 08-Feb-13 17:42:05

IA Is there any way this can be done in the public eye?

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 08-Feb-13 17:44:43

I'm not sure IA, but there is no reason why THIS can't be our campaign.

Public scrutiny might help, particularly if the blatentness of it are obvious and easy to grasp.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 17:50:08

I could post it on my website?

NameChanger4 Fri 08-Feb-13 18:06:26

It's all shite IA. I have just had a response from a stage 2 complaint with my LA which has been partially upheld and was considering whether to go to LGO or not (would have most likely been Coventry office too). Have decided that I don't want to spend any more months of my life fighting for justice but never actually getting it. These people are too slippery by half and always seem to wriggle their way out of things.
I do however have a complaint with the school gov's ongoing and again expect lies and cover-ups but in this case, if I get no apology, I'm going to the press about it. I threatened this when speaking to someone at the LA recently and they said that surely I wouldn't want all the stress and hassle involved hmm. I pointed out that as I have years of fighting and our whole family has already suffered terribly some publicity couldn't make things any worse than they are already sad and would highlight what a lot of families are going through.
I am sick to death of only being able to get so far with a complaint and then hitting an arse-covered brick wall. As they have Fathers 4 Justice perhaps we should be SEN Mothers 4 Justice!

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 18:10:46

Well that's what I think.

Let's have a bloody website and stick the stories on and name the bastards personally.

What we say is true. It is not opinion or libel. They just ignore evidence deliberately.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 08-Feb-13 18:13:10

Yes. I could stick the name of some of the tribunal judges on there, and tribunal panelists.

Hell, I'll even scan in some of the letters I've received that a fool could see was bollocks.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 18:18:56

SEN Parents 4 Justice!

What have we to lose if we stick to fact?

NameChanger4 Fri 08-Feb-13 18:19:26

I think just that putting some of the shocking experiences that some of us have had would be a good thing. We wouldn't necessarily have to name and shame for there to be a big impact imo.
Yeah, I could publish some of the notes made by TA's about my ds that I have obtained that make very uncomfortable reading.

NameChanger4 Fri 08-Feb-13 18:22:01

A website would be great as we could offer advice to other parents about the tricks to look out for. Also, real life tribunal experiences would be really helpful for a lot of people I reckon.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 08-Feb-13 18:23:21

Yes. Fact alone would have an impact. The wooly stuff, diary and human suffering can be written in a seperate part without names/dates etc. as illustrative, if people think it is worth it/want to do it, but the concrete things, facts, evidence bits can surely be published. Aren't they owned by the 'service receiver' rather than the service provider, given that the service are public services.

I mean the DPA protects the clients, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't 'protect' the public service personel, who are charged with delivering justice, the law, objective rulings etc.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 08-Feb-13 18:24:33

Also, I'm very worried that SENDIST has stopped publishing their stats. Makes me very suspicious.

NameChanger4 Fri 08-Feb-13 18:26:07

Yes, that is a worry Star.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 19:00:47

Yes - we could anonymise save for the office as we won't be able to vouch for the accuracy of everyone's material.

Keep anecdotes, stories brief - a side of A4 max - and contact sympathetic journos who might like to follow up

For example:

My LA failed to put my son's provision in place for 5 months after the issue of his statement. Facing a Tribunal, they secretly met with school and SLT to cook up pretend provision. This was backdated in professional reports.

To complain about the lack of provision, I contacted the LGO whose remit includes investigating failures to arrange provision. The LGO told me I was premature and it was my own fault for chasing provision. They gave the LA a clean bill of health. At this point, some of my son's provision was still outstanding.

Two weeks later, and two weeks before Tribunal, I received a letter from the LA branding me a vexatious correspondent and telling me no one would deal with correspondence from me unless I raised a 'substantially new matter'. I had no choice but to instruct solicitors.

I pulled my child out of the toxic school a few weeks later when I realised the head was lying about provision. We did not attend the Tribunal as they listed the hearing THE AFTERNOON BEFORE in a different city 30 miles away. We explained our difficulties and asked the Tribunal to read our evidence

The Tribunal judge was an ignorant arse. The panel didn't read the evidence - the judgment said the EPs agreed when ours said DS needed 32.5 hours provision and theirs said he needed 20. They failed to make the statement legal e.g. allowing the LA to state SLT provision should be 'up to 3 hours' a visit (which means it could be one minute as a matter of law) and they criticised us in our absence for pulling our child from this school.

The LGO consistently failed to deal with the failure of provision. I spent money and time pursuing them and a year, and three provisional judgments later, they finally acknowledged some maladministration. No apology, no explanation for the consistent fuck ups. Their reasoning changed consistently as they tried to explain how a Council breaking the law was not maladministration. A senior Ombudsman member of staff denied in writing that the Human Rights Framework as a Tool for Regulators applied to LGO decision-making as this was for 'regulators', yet the Equality and Human Rights Commission confirm that the LGO attend quarterly meetings to discuss how this Framework is being implemented by them.

The tone of all three provisional views was only ever critical of me, not even neutral, deciding every point in issue in favour of the Council without explanation. They saw the wealthy Council as 'victims'. They also used the Tribunals comments to criticise us as parents for our child's failure of provision!

I combined the failing to arrange complaint with one about the vexatious determination. The LGO said they wouldn't get involved in the problems with vexatious decision despite substantial evidence supporting me from a leading SEN lawyer and SEN charity. They then agreed to look at it but said the Council applied their policy so they were not prepared to do anything. Even though the Council failed to review the matter after 6 months as required. Something I had to chase them to do and for which I received an apology from them only after I demanded one! This allowed the LGO to say, yes they failed to review but heh they apologised so there is no injustice!

However, despite the LGO's position that the LA followed their policy, they ignored my complaint that the LA's policy requires it to be used only as a last resort and that the LA did nothing before it issued the ban. The determination was clearly their first resort. Correspondence obtained from the LGO file (but redacted) shows that LA officers were planning this ban and talking about how they would use it at Tribunal. The LGO say, without reference to these emails, that the LA officers conduct was just fine.

A covering letter was sent with the LGO's first final decision in August 2012 in which the LGO investigator says, to support the vexatious determination, that I had contacted her multiple times and had copied other agencies in. Neitherof these allegations was true and she was clearly saying that her experience with me somehow justified the LA's decision a year ago.

I instructed lawyers to issue a judicial review pre-action protocol letter against the LGO and in September they withdrew their decision. Six months later, it has been reissued with only small tweaks: one is that they now use a comment made by MP acknowledging the level of correspondence to support their determination of vexatiousness. No reference is made the the rest of the two page letter by my MP in support of my case. The judgment is littered with factual inaccuracies and legally the main argument has not been answered.

The same investigator kept the case and issued the second final judgment despite my concerns about her bias. There was no explanation for the delay and it is clear no further evidence has been obtained so, why did it take 6 months? I suspect they thought I would just go away.

TWO years on, I am faced with sending the matter back to lawyers to consider a further pre-action protocol letter as the LGO's position on the law in relation to failing to arrange is clearly wrong and will affect other vulnerable children. Their judgments are phrased as adversarial battles between complainant and LA. The child's needs are not even set out and his rights are not even considered.

This has cost me substantial amounts of money and stress. I have had no apology for their fuck ups.

As for my son? Two years later, he is at another school and now has 32.5 hours of support and direct payments for his SLT. They were obtained under threat of judicial review but that is another story......

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 08-Feb-13 19:02:03

"I mean the DPA protects the clients, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't 'protect' the public service personel, who are charged with delivering justice, the law, objective rulings"

The LGO redacted the LAs emails on the basis that these officers addresses were protected by the DPA

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 08-Feb-13 19:06:25

'The LGO redacted the LAs emails on the basis that these officers addresses were protected by the DPA'

Is that not a 'fact' that can be openly challenged? If nothing else it might make it clear that the Cheif Exec is therefore responsible for the actions of his/her staff, and therefore THE person.

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