East Devon planning irregularities - Ombudsman useless

Gerrard Winstanley office at evnuk.org.uk
Mon Feb 18 14:57:14 GMT 2008

Rotten Borough
many more cases here - http://www.rottenborough.org.uk/
The Antidote to Local Authority Web Sites.

A Management Systems Specialist sends the Local Government Ombudsman 
evidence of eleven irregularities committed by East Devon District 
Council when processing an application for planning consent. The LGO 
rules that only one of these constitutes "Maladministration".

East Devon District Council and the Local Government Ombudsman

Whistle Blowers Wanted
by Tony Ashton

Driven by professional curiosity as a management system specialist, 
I pursued our complaint, about a development approval by the East 
Devon DC, to test the value of the LGO as a force for improvement of 
local government, rather than seeking compensation. Our experience 
reflected exactly the numerous similar stories that appear 
repeatedly on websites such as this one.

After a thorough examination of the planning procedures and case 
files, we spoon-fed the LGO investigator with irrefutable, 
documented and date-referenced, evidence of:

1. Approval of drawings that were out of scale and had been tampered 
2. Highly significant omissions from the Planning Application Public 
3. Objection letters from neighbours that had been "Lost".
4. Correspondence between Developer and the Case Officer that was 
outside the Council's security stamping process.
5. Back-dating of a planning decision into a previous Planning 
6. Failure to consult other relevant Council departments, despite an 
internal department requirement to do so.
7. Non-reporting to the Planning Committee of large dimensional 
changes in the building, despite an internal Code of Practice that 
requires all relevant changes to be reported.
8. Major inconsistencies with recent planning department decisions 
on similar developments at the same site.
9. Use of an illegitimate method to confirm a key measurement of 
building height.
10. Failure to inform us of major changes to the plans, despite an 
internal departmental requirement to do so.
11. Withholding of information on planning procedures from us and 
untruthful written responses to our complaints.

With the exception of Item 1, none of these suspicious actions were 
deemed by the LGO to be maladministration.

What message does this send to dysfunctional and dishonest local 
government departments?

What job satisfaction can the LGO's 200+ apparatchiks find in 
working for such an organization?

Surely, there must be some amongst them with enough moral fibre to 
blow the whistle on this disgusting old boys' club of ex-council 
officers at the very heart of our system of justice. 

Dr. Tony Ashton (Principal Auditor, The Institute of Environmental 
Management & Assessment)

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Copyright © 2006 - Dr. Tony Ashton.
All Rights Reserved
E-mail TAshton at southhooklng.com

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