Share

Government watchdog reportedly favours council in £500,000 Age UK dispute

Government watchdog reportedly favours council in £500,000 Age UK dispute
News

Government watchdog reportedly favours council in £500,000 Age UK dispute1

Finance | Jonathan Last | 13 Jun 2012

The local government ombudsman has provisionally sided with Watford Borough Council in its quarrel with Age UK Hertfordshire over a £500,000 repairs bill for two buildings, according to reports.

Age UK Hertfordshire had approached the ombudsman to settle a dispute over the defamation of its reputation, and now the Watford Observer reports that the watchdog has said it found no case for maladministration against the council – whilst stressing that its decision can still be challenged.

The local government ombudsman itself told civilsociety.co.uk that it had no official comment to make on the matter, and that it could be two or three months of further investigations before it has an official statement to release.

Neither Age UK Hertfordshire nor Watford Borough Council would comment on the matter until the ombudsman’s investigation has been completed.

Damaged reputation

The saga started with Watford Borough Council issuing two £250,000 bills for properties which Age UK began occupying in 2006.

When the charity left one of the properties in 2009, it was issued with an invoice for dilapidations by the council. This prompted an inspection of the other building, which resulted in a further £250,000 repair bill.

Age UK disputed the bills and reached an agreement with the Council in February 2011. The charges were wiped, aside from what chief executive Marion Birch described at the time as “a confidential, small settlement figure".

But subsequent comments in the local press by members of the council led the charity to claim its reputation had been damaged, and so it sought the intervention of the ombudsman.

Anne Seex
Local Government Ombudsman
19 Jun 2012

The verve of your writing makes for exciting reading in your report about Age UK Hertfordshire and Watford Borough Council. Unfortunately it may also lead to misunderstandings about the role of the Local Government Ombudsman. Whilst it would be wrong for me to comment on the particular complaint I would like to inform your readers about our work.

In investigating complaints about local authorities we look to see whether there have been faults that have caused an injustice. We do not arbitrate in ‘quarrels’. Our decisions are based on our independent and impartial assessment of the particular facts and circumstances of a complaint. In making a decision we do not ‘side’ with either party.

A civil society organisation can complain to us if they believe faults in the actions of a council have caused them an injustice. Further information is available on our website ( see www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint/) and we have a special Fact Sheet on complaints about Compacts (see www.lgo.org.uk/publications/fact-sheets/complaints-about-compacts-councils-csos/).


Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

PTA-UK: Big Society Network chief was confident of funding

28 Jul 2014

PTA-UK has revealed that it turned down an invitation from Big Society Network to be a partner in its...

FRSB rejects complaint against the RSPB

25 Jul 2014

The Fundraising Standards Board has thrown out a complaint that the RSPB’s Abernethy Forest appeal made...

Culture, Media and Sport Committee launches inquiry into society lotteries

25 Jul 2014

The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has launched an inquiry into society lotteries that will...

Commission investigates charity over concerns it was used for private benefit

29 Jul 2014

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into grant-giver the Catalyst Trust over concerns...

PTA-UK: Big Society Network chief was confident of funding

28 Jul 2014

PTA-UK has revealed that it turned down an invitation from Big Society Network to be a partner in its...

Big Society Network chair’s company gave £64k to Conservative Party

28 Jul 2014

A company owned by the chair of Big Society Network donated services totalling more than £54,000 to the...

Online donations forms are too long and cost charities donations, finds report

28 Jul 2014

One third of leading charity websites require potential donors to complete more than 20 actions before...

Greenpeace video removed from YouTube following copyright claim

14 Jul 2014

A campaign video by Greenpeace against Lego’s relationship with Shell has been subject to a copyright...

Oxfam advert removed after appearing before extremist videos

10 Jul 2014

Oxfam has removed one of its adverts from YouTube after it was shown on channels showing content from...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance