Those of you not familiar with what powers are vested in a High Court, may find this document posted on the Parliament website of interest, as it succinctly states the ‘differences’ between the LGO and the High Court.
Of interest is also the recent Parliamentary Briefing document on LGO, which clearly states that the LGO cannot COMPEL an authority to do anything.
First of all, it should be realised that, although very convenient for local authorities, NO person is obliged to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, the LGO, as so often suggested by the authorities, when the “local process of complaint” failed to arrive at a satisfactory resolution.
The inducement to do so, is that the process is FREE. The individual gets precisely what he pays for. NOTHING. A biased, legally worthless ‘decision’ arrived at ‘on the hoof’ by a legal non-entity, whether the individual suffered any INJUSTICE; which is UNDEFINED. It is entirely up to the unqualified ‘investigator’s whim whether this occurred or not. Appeal, unlike at the High Court, is impossible.
The Final Decision is arrived at after a possible endless to and fro between the LGO and the authority, in accordance with paragraphs 30 and 31, as addressed below. However, this seldom, if ever happens, as the outcome is agreed between the LGO and the authority, providing no reason for this event.
Any person can, should he wish to do so and have the required resolve and sometimes the means, go to a Court and take legal action against the authority. Even if a ‘decision’ had been reached by the LGO, an individual may proceed with a legal action, as the Judge is in NO WAY obliged to consider the LGO’s decisions, which have NO legal value. He is likely to consider the matter anew.
RBKC and other local authorities, as well as the LGO quote the well worn phrase featuring ONLY ONCE in paragraph 29-(2) of the Local Government Act 1974, that “Local Commissioner shall have the same powers as the High Court in respect of the attendance and examination of witnesses, and in respect of the production of documents.”
High Court can compel anyone to do, or not to do, certain thing, by the issue of a Court Order, signed by a Judge. Likewise, the High Court can issue a “decision“, or “ruling”, signed by a Judge which is enforceable in law. compelling the recipient to do. or not to do, certain things.
However, the LGO has NO such powers. As he is NOT a member of the Judiciary, he CANNOT issue and sign a Court Order, or an enforceable “decision” of his own accord, compelling someone to do whatever.
.F asked RBKC for their justification of a disclosure to the LGO of his personal information, without consent or knowledge. in the first instance contrary to his May 2010 amendment to his Information Sharing Agreement.
Ms Husain, Ms Walker and as well Ms Parker, RBKC’s Chief Solicitor quoted paragraph 19-(2) of the Local Government Act 1974, as their legal justification to disclose F’s information, possibly including his HIV+ status clinical details
On 14th January 2014, Ms Maclean chimed in with her abjectly arrogant statement that RBKC HAD to disclose F’s information in order NOT to prejudice RBKC’s REPUTATION.
It is clear that RBKC are under the wholehearted. but erroneous impression that they were obliged to disclose F’s information.
ICO’s Data Sharing Code of Practice, clearly states in Section 4 that the onus to ensure legal disclosure is on the data controller. Irrespective of who may have asked/ordered information, it must make sure that the information can actually be disclosed. Consideration must be made that disclosure of the information may be outside of the Data Protection Act and subject to provisions of other legislation, outside of the ICO’s remit.
On 15th September 2013 the LGO was asked about disclosure to him of personal information protected by the NHS Statutory Restrictions on data handling.
On 16th September 2013, the LGO replied, merely quoting the Local Government Act 1974 as the authority.
On 20th November 2013 F asked the LGO via the What Do They Know website under what circumstances information governed by the NHS Statutory Restrictions on data handing may be requested by the LGO.
In her reply dated 29th November 2013, Ms Pook merely referred to ‘INFORMATION’ in very general, wide definition, rather than any SPECIFIC information and quoted Paragraph 29-2 of the LGA as the authority to do so. Again, she uses the well worn phrase about ‘LGO’s powers as the High Court’, to bambooze F into believing that LGO is endowed with these albeit non-existent, God-like powers.
He MUST apply to at least a Magistrate Court for a COURT ORDER. This is in no way an ‘automatic process’. The LGO has to SATISFY a JUDGE that the Court Order is appropriate and should be signed by the Judge, who has the explicit discretion to do so, or not.
As recently as 17th February 2016, LGO replied to F about LGO’s need to issue a Court Order to obtain his HIV relevant information.
The LGO clearly states that “if RBKC refused to provide the requested information, we can obtain a court order to force the authority to provide the information.” (LGO’s italics).
Why the italicised ‘refused” and ‘can‘? RBKC was entitled to ‘refuse’ anything LGO asked of them. It was merely a polite request for information, rather than a Court Order. Is it unlikely that RBKC would ever ‘refuse’ to provide information, already agreed upon during the LGO’s investigation in PRIVATE.
The important word here is ‘obtain‘. Because it is unable to issue its own Court Orders. This clearly contradicts the response given on 29th November 2013, which suggests that the LGO has the powers to do so.
To obtain a Court Order, LGO would have to apply to at least the Westminster Magistrate Court. This is in NO way an ‘automatic process’; the LGO must provide the Judge with a legal reason why the Order is needed. It is entirely up to the Judge to grant it or not.
It appears that Ms Pook is trying to imply that the LGO has got some God-given powers to ‘obtain’ a Court Order. In fact, anyone can ‘obtain’ a Court, by applying for it to a Court, through a legal professional. Not even that, if the individual has the required legal knowhow of how to apply himself. It would be up to the Judge to decide whether to grant an Order or not.
The LGO in his letter to RBKC dated 24th August 2011 said “I would be grateful if you could provide me with copies of all the assessment documentation for this matter so that I can properly consider the complaint, along with any general comments the Council wish to make.”
It was RBKC responsibility to ensure that they can disclose F’s information, complying with the ICO’s ”.
Paragraphs 30-31 of the Act are very clear about what happens. The LGO presents his ‘Report’ and expects the authority to review it and provide comments. However, should the authority fail to do so, or the response is unsatisfactory, the LGO shall amend his ‘Report’. There is NO other action he may take – he has no statutory powers to compel anyone to accept the findings of his ‘investigation’. In fact, the whole process is nothing but a sick charade. waste of taxpayers money, resulting in a situation, where the LGO can be. and is, ignored with impunity, as there are no prospects of any retribution for responsibility to create an ‘INJUSTICE’, whatever that may be.
Therefore, there is NO legal obligation on anyone, to take any notice of the ‘Decision’, as the process is in fact ENDLESS… There is NO time limit or anything else associated wit this element of the process.
However, to avoid the possibility to the above ever happening, the LGO and the authority cozily agree on the desired outcome during LGO investigation in ‘PRIVATE’, where anything can be agreed, without any outside body ever knowing, How convenient in the allegedly ‘democratic’ England.
This would endorse our opinion that the LGO was IN NO way involved in the disclosure of F’s HIV information to the LGO. He is totally blameless.