Camden Council and the Local Government Ombudsman

I find the description of the Local Government Ombudsman as being honest and independent incredible to say the very least. This nauseating description is so far from reality that it could only have come from the Local Government Ombudsman or a council.

The fact is that the London Local Government Ombudsman is ineffectual and his so-called investigations lack objectivity and integrity. He has a sad and ironic habit of avoiding and trivialising evidence against the council such that, at times, he appears to be defending the council instead of seeking facts. This perverse bias against complainants has actually been harming both the council and its residents instead of helping them.

The only people that the Local Government Ombudsman is helping is himself because his organisation relies entirely on residents making complaints against the council for its existence and business is certainly booming for it.

Recently, the Local Government Ombudsman has shamelessly tried to defend his devious investigation methods by pointing to the fact that there has been a huge surge in number complaints that he has had to deal with. He does not seem to be willing to acknowledge that the corruption and contempt, which are now intrinsic in Camden Council, have something to do with the failure of the Local Government Ombudsman to do the very job that he was appointed to do.

He does not seem to be able to see the link between his repeated failure to conduct proper investigations and correct maladministration in the council and the considerable drop in the quality of services provided by the council. Like many Camden residents who have experienced unjust and appalling treatment from the council, I have found that making complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman is a complete waste of time and which left me feeling as if I was bashing my head against a brick wall. All I got for my troubles each time was intensified pain and despair.

Over a period of ten years, I have made about four formal complaints against Camden council regarding issues including failure/refusal to carry out repairs, unfair discrimination, failure to adhere to council policies and procedures and misrepresentation/distortion of facts. The London Local Government Ombudsman arrived at the same decision as the council on each of these occasions.

For more than four years now, my neighbours have been putting my children and I through hell. I suspect that they disliked and ganged up against me because I am a fat lone mother. They seem to have something against fat people and single mothers. Perhaps the perception of fat people and single mothers as stupid financial burdens has something to do with it. The unfair bias of the council, against me, and the confusion it caused over the access and use of the area near my front door added considerably to the problem and made me an easy target for harassment.

The housing manager dealing with the matter was not interested in the incidents that I was reporting to him. He ridiculed and refused to investigate many of them and his seniors did not want to get involved. The director of housing and the Kentish Town District Housing Manager were abrupt when they told me not to contact them about the matter because it had nothing to do with them. I got the impression that hearing about the detriment to which my children and I were subjected irritated them and they just wanted to shut me up instead of trying to resolve the matter.

There is also the fact that one of the neighbours involved is a Freemason. Once I discovered this fact, I began to realise how difficult my position was.

It is no secret that many senior council and Local Government Ombudsman officials are Freemasons and I am convinced that the links between them transcend the organisations that they work for and influence the way they work and make decisions.

In the past four years my neighbours have:

  • Intimidated and threatened me with assault;
  • Proceeded to assault me twice;
  • Verbally abused and ridiculed my children and I many times;
  • Repeatedly made insulting and sexist remarks about me;
  • Intimidated and verbally attacked my children;
  • Thrown mud balls at my kitchen window;
  • Thrown rubbish over me;
  • Left objects and scattered rubbish near my front door and gates;
  • Kicked and damaged my front door;
  • Repeatedly invited strangers to walk through my front gate and front door area;
  • Tampered with and damaged the gate and fence that separate me from them in an attempt to muddle and dispute the boundaries;
  • Told me that they intend to get me evicted;

  • Repeatedly refused to participate in mediation that I had organised with Camden Mediation;

  • Had frequent loud and late night sessions of drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and cigarettes, playing music outside such that the noise and smell of marijuana entered and polluted my home almost every night last summer.
  • My belongings, including my children’s bikes and scooter have mysteriously disappeared soon after my neighbours told me that something would happen to them;

    My windows have been found mysteriously broken several times;

    My rose bushes have been damaged several times;

    Phlegm has been spat at my front door;

    Although the police had finally given some of these neighbours harassment warning, the council and the Local Government Ombudsman still share the view that the incidents did not amount to harassment.

    After my reporting of the most recent assault on me by my neighbours, the council applied for injunction against me and took me to court, without interviewing me or giving me opportunity to prepare or submit my defence, claiming that I had assaulted my neighbours. Needless to say that the injunction application was littered with lies, inconsistencies and omissions.

    The council has still not sent me a copy of my tenancy file for which they had received £10 payment more than six months ago.

    After the council had refused to investigate my previous formal complaint about the appalling handling of harassment incidents, Mr. Swingler had advised me to take my complaint to Local Government Ombudsman. I have not bothered because I know that I would be wasting my time and inflicting more pain on myself in doing so.

    Ms T Ezekpo.

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