Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple school principals and departmental officers bully classroom teachers into ill health and out of work.

The Queensland Ombudsman.

What happens when you make a complaint to the Queensland Ombudsman?

 

  • The officers of the Queensland Ombudsmen are intelligent.

 

  •  They have integrity.

 

  • They are "tricky" in an old-fashioned, public-service, "Yes-Minister" sort of way.

 

  • They are willing to meet you.

 

  • The Ombudsman's records of phone calls and meetings seem to be honest. This is not common in the Queensland public service.

 

  • What the Ombudsmen tell you at meetings or during phone calls can be relied upon.

 

  • But they don't actually seem to do anything.

 

  • The point of the Queensland Ombudsman's process seems to be to continually "close your file".

 

  • The Ombudsman will not investigate your complaint till Education Queensland agrees that it has finished its "processes".

 

  • So Education Queensland senior officers just keep telling the Ombudsman that they are still "processing" your complaint.

 

  • Whereas, in fact, they are doing nothing whatsoever for month after month.

 

  • With this simple strategy, Education Queensland renders the Ombudsman powerless.

 

7867 complaints were received by the Queensland Ombudsman in 2005.

Only 117 of these complaints "required formal investigation".

Why so few?

Complainants are frequently passed back to the offending departments.

So people don't pursue their complaint.

They cut their losses.

And the bureaucrats win again.

Who fights for the little people? , Des Houghton, The Courier-Mail 10/06/2006

 

To describe the Queensland Ombudsman's process in a nutshell:

It is all a bit like going to the police and reporting that you have been robbed.

First the police interview the robber.

They ask him if he robbed you.

He says that he did not do it.

So the police write a letter to you to advise you that the robber has told them that he didn't do it.

And they close their file.

You complain to the police again.

You complain that the robber is not telling the truth.

He really did rob you.

The police interview the robber again.

The robber tells the police that he is "in the process of" writing a letter to you about the robbery.

So the police write another letter to you to advise you that the robber is in the process of writing a letter to you.

They advise you to wait for the robber's letter.

And they close their file.

Years pass.

You never receive any letter from the robber.

 

If you are thinking of contacting the Ombudsman in any state of Australia, it is worth reading their "Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Manual" http://www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au/Portals/0/docs/Publications/Agency_Resources/Unreasonable-Complainant-Conduct-Manual.pdf  

This document will help you to understand how the Ombudsmen will respond to your complaint.

- The Ombudsmen will spin YOU into the problem.

And close your file.

 

 

The real-life experiences on which these conclusions are based:

January 2003

I first "disclosed" a) the workplace abuse and b) the conflict of interest that was / seemed to be affecting my case to the Queensland Ombudsman.

December 21, 2006

Louise Rosemann, Assistant Ombudsman, Assessment and Resolution Team, Queensland Ombudsman discussed my complaint at a meeting with two representatives of the Education Queensland Workforce Standards and Performance Unit.

One of the representatives was Regan Neumann, Unit Director.

Ms Rosemann was advised that,

"... following an investigation undertaken by Verifact Commercial Investigations, Mr Neumann arranged for a meeting between yourself and Mr Peter Edwards, Assistant Director of the Unit, to review all relevant materials on your EQ files. "

Letter to me from Louise Rosemann, Assistant Ombudsman, dated 16 February 2007.

 

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

Peter Edwards only allowed me to see one small file of documents that appeared to be copies of documents that I had found myself under Freedom Of Information.

I had provided a file of such documents to the Verifact Investigator on December 16 2005.

But I had provided the investigator with many other documents.

In my letter to Louise Rosemann dated 16 June 2007 I listed the many other documents that I had provided to the Verifact Investigator.

Ms Rosemann was also told that

"... Mr Edwards requested that you identify documents that you wanted removed from the files, ..."

 

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

THIS DID NOT HAPPEN.

 

"... and these documents would then be placed in a sealed envelope and sent to EQ's Legal Section for advice. ..."

 

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

I understood Mr Edwards to say that he would "mark" or write something on this file of documents.

I did not agree that this would resolve my complaint.

 

"... I am advised that you appeared unhappy with the process and left the building. ..."

 

THIS STATEMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

MR EDWARDS CALLED TWO SECURITY GUARDS AND HAD ME ESCORTED OUT OF THE BUILDING.

" ... following your freedom of Information request, EQ is undertaking the physical inspection and identification of relevant materials on your files.

I understand that Mr Edwards will write to you again when this task has been completed, and I have requested that this office receives a copy of this correspondence to you in due course. ..."

 

DURING THE TWENTY-SEVEN MONTHS FROM THE DATE THAT THIS STATEMENT WAS MADE TO MS ROSEMANN - 21 DECEMBER 2006 - TO THIS DATE - 6 AUGUST 2009 - MR EDWARDS HAS NOT WRITTEN TO ME TO ADVISE ME THAT MY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST OR ANY OTHER "TASK" HAS BEEN COMPLETED.

 

" ... EQ is currently responding to your FOI request and intends writing to you about the manner in which your file materials are to be handled. ... "

 

DURING THE TWENTY-SEVEN MONTHS FROM THE DATE THAT THIS STATEMENT WAS MADE TO MS ROSEMANN - 21 DECEMBER 2006 - TO THIS DATE - 6 AUGUST 2009 - MR EDWARDS HAS NOT WRITTEN TO ME TO ADVISE ME ABOUT THIS OR ANY OTHER MATTER.

 

" ... I suggest that you allow this process to occur.

... I believe you should allow time for this process to continue."

 

I SUGGEST TO YOU, MS ROSEMANN, THAT NO SUCH PROCESS IS EVER GOING TO OCCUR.

I SUGGEST TO YOU, MS ROSEMANN, THAT EDUCATION QUEENSLAND IS ENGAGED IN A "PROCESS" OF DOING NOTHING WHATSOEVER.

 

On 10 September 2007, Greg Woodbury, Assistant Ombudsman, wrote to me -

 

" ...Your complaint relates to a number of outstanding concerns you have about the actions of EQ, which follow a bullying complaint you made to it in June 2002 (a stage 2 grievance). ... "

 

THIS IS NOT EXACTLY CORRECT.

 I made a grievance Stage 1 to the Queensland Department of Education District Director on 13 December 2000, requesting that an officer be appointed to investigate the situation and to determine the truth.

Education Queensland have a copy of this letter at FOI 2469 File B document 105 and FOI 2733 File H document 3.

 

I made a Grievance Stage 2 to Jim Varghese, Director-General on 31 August 2001.

I made a Grievance Stage 2 to the District office on 3 June 2002.

I met Anna Bligh, Minister of Education and Jim Varghese, Director-General of Education on 23 June 2002.

I told Anna Bligh and Jim Varghese that, when Queensland teachers were bullied at work, the immediate advice of the Queensland Teachers Union was that there was no hope of justice because the Education Queensland grievance process did not work.

The only advice of the Queensland Teachers' Union to bullied teachers was to "accept the things you cannot change".

Anna Bligh already seemed to know about my complaint.

I presume that she had been shown the secret Stage 2 Grievance Report written by Lynch-Mob State College usual principal Mr EL.

The Stage 2 Grievance Report in which Mr EL seems to have found no evidence of his own - or Mrs GR's - bullying.

Or the "District Office Report".

Both of which were being from me.

And all copies of which were "lost" when I made my first FOI application.

 

' ... Having given detailed consideration to your complaint, the following complaint issues were identified:"

 

I identified my complaint issues in my letter to Greg Woodbury dated 31 July 2007 and attached to my letters to Forbes Smith dated 10 August 2007 and 10 September 2007.

 

" (1) With regard to your FOI applications you expressed concern that:

a) EQ has not provided you with a copy or explanation regarding the ... 'notes to Leigh from Desley'..."

 

THIS IS NOT EXACTLY TRUE.

MY COMPLAINT TO THE OMBUDSMAN IS NOT SIMPLY A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPLICATION.

  • I want Natural justice.
  • I want to know what the allegations against me were in the the "notes to Leigh from Desley" that prompted the seemingly irrational and unprofessional statements concerning me that were made by Lynch-Mob State College acting principal Mrs GR during the staff meeting on Friday 10 November 2000.
  • I want to know what the "lots of allegations" against me in "lots of" documents were - as stated by Mrs G.R. during the meeting on 27 November 2000, and as recorded by Lynch-Mob State College acting deputy principal Miss A.L. in FOI documents 2421 File F  28-32 
  • I want to understand why I was found guilty.
  • I want to have the right to respond to these secret allegations.
  • I want the opportunity to prove myself innocent. 

 

And I want all copies of the two decisions to punish me -

1) The 29 November 2000 agreement made between Lynch-Mob State College acting principal Mrs GR and usual principal Mr EL that "the (DWP) process is warranted".

Copies of the 29 November 2000 letter to advise me of this agreement can be found in  -

  • Mrs GR's private file of falsified "records" concerning me, 2421 File F,  document 59, number at the top right hand corner of the page,

  • and also 2469 File F, document 19. 

2469 File F is the file of falsified documents on which -

a) Mrs GR seems to have hand-written written a second layer of untruthful messages concerning me - presumably these twice-falsified messages were given to Mr EL during the Stage 1 Grievance investigation process., 

b) Mr EL made notes on one of these documents, presumably during the Stage 1 Grievance process.

c) then the falsified and re-falsified documents were placed inside the Stage 1 Grievance folder and sent to the District Office.

This created the false impression that the falsified and re-falsified documents had been shown to me and discussed with me before Lynch-Mob State College usual principal Mr EL dismissed my Stage 1 Grievance about acting principal Mrs GR's  - and his own - abuse of the DWP process.

 

2) The decision made by Lynch-Mob State College usual principal Mr EL dated 5 February 2001, to dismiss my Stage 1 Grievance about acting principal Mrs GR's abuse (and his own abuse) of the DWP process.

The Queensland Department of Education have a copy of this document in

  • FOI 2421 C, The District Office documents 198 and 199, numbers at the top right hand corner of the page,
  • and also in 2469 File F, the file of falsifed and re-falsified documents that Lynch-Mob State College usual principal Mr EL sent to the District Office, documents 142-143, numbers at the top right hand corner of the document.

 

To be annotated by Rod Welford, the Minister of Education, to state that this agreement between Mrs GR and Mr EL that "the (DWP) process is warranted" was legally invalid because it was made in breach of -

  • Natural Justice. 
  • the Queensland Department of Education Code of Conduct,
  • the Queensland Public Service Regulations,
  • the Education Queensland Diminished Workplace Performance Process (in the case of the second document)
  • The Department of Education Grievance Process

and all copies of all documents detailed in The C- - - - - List 31/10/2006 to be annotated to say that they were placed on my Departmental Record in breach of -

  • Natural Justice.
  • the Department of Education Code of Conduct,
  • the Queensland Public Service Regulations,
  • the Education Queensland Diminished Workplace Performance Process 
  • (in the case of the document dated 5 February 2001) The Department of Education Grievance Process

     

    " ... b) EQ has refused to provide you with copies of certain documents; ..."

    • including copies of the "lots of allegations" against you in "lots of documents".
    • And all of the investigation reports concerning you that have been refused to you / concealed from you to this date, including the "lost" Stage 2 Grievance Report written by Lynch-Mob State College usual principal Mr E.L. and all reports prepared by external agencies (including all reports and documents prepared by Verifact Commercial Investigation).

     

    " c) certain documents are missing from the FOI ..." records.

  • These documents are listed in The C- - - - - List 31/10/2006.

     

    d) a large number of  documents were concealed from you and placed secretly on your Education Queensland file. 

    These documents had been falsified in various ways.

    The majority of the falsified documents have been listed and described in The C- - - - - List 31/10/2006)

     

    "e) certain documents appear to be substitute documents."

     

    "(2) You have requested - "

  • that EQ provide you with the opportunity to respond to the "lots of" allegations in the "lots of" documents that are being concealed from you.

  • that your response to these allegations be considered

  • and that you have the opportunity to be found not guilty of the allegations.

  • that the two decisions to punish you be officially annotated to state that these decisions were legally invalid and were made in breach of Natural Justice, etc. as described above.

  • and that all copies of all documents detailed in The C- - - - - List 31/10/2006 to be annotated to say that they were placed on your Departmental Record in breach of  Natural Justice, etc. as described above.

     

  • "(3) You are concerned that the ..." FOI process has been and is being abused to refuse you documents that you first requested in September 2003.

     

    (4) You are concerned that children, the disabled, the sick, the gullible, the inexperienced and the local Queensland Teachers' Union organiser have been abused as puppets by Lynch Mob State College acting principal Mrs GR to "speak" imaginary allegations against you.

    You complained to Eve Gardiner, Crime and Misconduct Commission officer, about discrimination on the grounds of political belief (and also on the grounds of age, race, sex and disability) during a phone conversation on Wednesday 26 November 2003.

    At Eve's suggestion you emailed a copy of your discrimination complaint to her at 5:32 PM that afternoon.

    You are concerned that Education Queensland employ many solicitors and barristers, including at least one Human Rights and Equal Opportunity - trained discrimination solicitor.

    But senior officers of Education Queensland selected an Aboriginal employee with no qualifications in the law, psychology or teaching to conduct a "review" of the falsified documents.

    You are concerned that the "reviewer" did not consider your responses to these falsified documents.

     

    "(5) You are dissatisfied by ..." the conduct of CMC and Education Queensland officers.

     

    (6) You are concerned about the total failure / abuse of the CMC / Education Queensland investigation process.

     

    (7) You are concerned that Mr Peter Edwards seems to be responsible for dealing with your complaint, but that when you met him in late 2006, he clearly knew almost nothing about your complaint.

    Mr Edwards told you repeatedly that he had been given a "brief" that instructed him to do nothing other than to show you (what appeared to be) one of several files of documents that you had provided to Verifact Commercial Investigation.

     

    "(8) You are seeking compensation from Education Queensland for ... " professional negligence, etc.

     

    "On 19 July 2007, our investigator, Ms Melanie Mundy, made further inquiries with Mr Peter Edwards of EQ's Workforce Standards and performance Unit (WSPU). Mr Edwards confirmed the above actions ( the physical inspection and identification of relevant materials on your files) remained the intent of the WSPU. "

    "He noted that EQ's processing of your recent FOI applications had delayed progress on this task."

     

    THIS STATEMENT BY MR PETER EDWARDS IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

    On 15 December 2006 I made FOI Application 3016.

    On 15 January 2007 Matt Woodforth, Senior Policy Officer, Legal and Administrative Law Branch, Education Queensland, wrote to me.

    He sent a receipt for the $36.00 FOI application fee.

    One day later, on 16 January 2007 Matt Woodforth wrote to me again. 

    Mr Woodforth refused to deal with my FOI application.

    On 15 February 2007 I wrote to Rachel Hunter, Director General of the Department of Education and asked her to deal with (what seems to be) the sustained abuse of the Freedom of Information process.

    To this date, 14 September 2007, Rachel Hunter seems to have done nothing whatsoever.

    To this date, 14 September 2007, I have not been provided with the FOI documents that explained the "secret reason" why the decision was made to punish me in 2001. 

    I applied for these documents in September 2003.

    I have re-stated my application many times since September 2003.

    These documents are personal.

    They should have been provided to me free of charge by late November 2003.

    The Office of the Information Commissioner also refuse to search for these documents that I first requested in September 2003 and that now seem to have "vanished" during the Freedom of Information process.

    There seems to be no point in my making any further applications to the Office of the Information Commissioner.

    The whole Queensland FOI process seems to have been corrupted.

     

     "... On 1 August 2007, I met with Mr Edwards and discussed this matter. He subsequently advised that EQ had finalised all your FOI matters.. "

     

    THIS ADVICE WAS INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

    No "recent FOI application" had "delayed Education Queensland's progress".

    Education Queensland's "process" seems to consist of doing nothing whatsoever.

     

    "... and that he would now proceed to finalise the task of inspecting and identifying relevnt materials on your files and write to you on completion of this task ... "

     

    Mr Woodbury, let's be very frank.

    Education Queensland haven't done anything since Louise Rosemann met them on 21 December 2006.

    The Education Queensland  "process" seems to consist of doing nothing whatsoever.

     

    " ... I understand from our inquiries with EQ, that Mr Edwards has provided you with information concerning lodgement of a claim for compensation. ..."

     

    IT HASN'T HAPPENED.

    YOU ARE HAVING THE WOOL PULLED OVER YOUR EYES, MR WOODBURY.

     

    AND I AM NOT SAYING THIS BECAUSE I AM A "VEXACIOUS COMPLAINANT".

    I AM SAYING IT BECAUSE YOU ARE HAVING THE WOOL PULLED OVER YOUR EYES.

     

    "... If you wish to pursue this matter you should submit a claim to EQ and provide it with a reasonable opportunity to respond to the claim. ..."

     

    How many more years of my life do you estimate that this new Education Queensland process of doing nothing whatsoever is likely to take, Mr Woodbury?

     

    " I do not consider that any further action relating to your complaint is necessary or warranted at this time and will close our file."

     

    This "closing of my file" by Greg Woodbury means that the Ombudsman will refuse to read my response to his letter.

     

    That is why, on 17 SEPTEMBER 2007,  I had to put my response on the internet.

     

    Mr Woodbury, how can the office of the Queensland Ombudsman possibly close my file?

    Education Queensland haven't actually done anything since Louise Rosemann met them on 21 December 2006!

     

    Is this some sort of Queensland public service joke? 

     

    The Queensland Ombudsman's response to Anna Bligh's September 2009 "Integrity Review".

    16 October, 2009

    3.3 Whistleblowing

     ... The Whistleblowers Protection Act 1994 (WPA) ... makes each public sector agency responsible for - 

    • receiving public interest disclosures about the conduct of its officers,
    • managing the disclosure process,
    • and taking steps to protect its officers from reprisals.

    The Ombudsman says that in his view, the current system is seriously flawed.

    "A decentralised whistleblowing model whereby the

    • recognition,
    • investigation
    • and resolution

    of a public interest disclosure (PID) can be handled totally within the agency whose officers are the subject of the PID, without any measure of external oversight (unless it involves official misconduct), does not represent best practice in this area and does not provide whistleblowers with an adequate level of protection."

    The Ombudsman suggests that -

    • When an agency receive a disclosure (PID) they send the disclosures involving official misconduct to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) and all other disclosures to the Ombudsman.
    • Then the Ombudsman would either investigate the disclosure or refer it back to the agency to conduct the investigation. The Ombudsman would be empowered to monitor, take over or review the investigation.

    But handing investigations back to agencies and allowing them to investigate themselves is useless.

    And the CMC  don't monitor.

    And they don't review.

    They accept gibberish.

    And then they declare your case "closed" so that you can't tell them that they are accepting gibberish.

     

    The Queensland Ombudsman strongly suspects that there is significant underreporting of PIDs of maladministration.

    For example, in the 2007-8 financial year Education Queensland reported that they had received no PID's of maladministration.

    They had probably "lost" them.

    The Ombudsman says that there may be some confusion in agencies about terms such as 'maladministration'.

    A very convenient "confusion".

    The Ombudsman recommends that the CMC and the Ombudsman share responsibility for supervising agencies in this manner so that the purposes of the Whistleblower Protection Act are not defeated by -

    • misinterpretations
    • inconsistent approaches
    • inadequate investigations
    • lack of commitment.

    The CMC and the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commission ( PCMC ) support this idea.

    In the 7th PCMC's Three Year Review of the CMC ( tabled 20 April 2009), the PCMC called for the Queensland government to undertake a complete review of the Whistleblower Protection Act.

    (In about 2006) a Directive was issued requiring all agencies under the Public Service Act to implement internal complaints systems that complied with recognised standards for complaint handling.

    Education Queensland must have lost their Directive.

    The Ombudsman then developed a State-wide project to provide training to agencies on understanding and applying the principles of effective complaints management.

    But I have seen no evidence of any change.

    The public servants attend the training courses and nothing changes.

    The Ombudsman wants to develop a training program designed to assist agency staff to understand the principles of whistleblowing.

    Mr Ombudsman -

    Your training is based on the findings of faux Departmental investigations!

    First you need to run a few real investigations and find out what the real problems are.

    Then - and only then - you will be able to deal with the systemic problems.

    Training is a cop-out.

    It is much easier and nicer to "train" people than to actually deal with their corruption.

    Training is not the answer.

    Because nobody cares.

    Accountability is the answer.

    Show these corrupt public servants that you are willing to hold them accountable.

    Train them, test them and hold them accountable.

     

    Apologies

    The Ombudsman is another enthusiast for Claytons apologies - the apology you get when nothing actually changes.

    Because apologies calm people down.

    At the conclusion of an investigation the Ombudsman often recommends that the relevant head of a department apologise to a complainant who has suffered some detriment as a result of the agency's defective administrative action.

    But the Ombudsman suggests that any type of Departmental apology be "protected".

    Legislative change should provide that an apology by a Queensland government Department regaring a decision or action affecting an individual does not constitute an admission of liability and will not be relevant to a determination of fault or liability.

    So the Government department that has harmed you will say that they are sorry that they have harmed you - because they know that if they say "sorry" it will calm you down - but their "sorry" is a "protected sorry" - they are not going to do anything to correct the harm that they have done you.

    What kind of Claytons sorry is that?

    If the Queensland government Department was really sorry, they would want to correct the harm that they had done.

    For example, if a "decision" to punish a teacher was made in breach of several Departmental policies - and if this abusive document was then placed on the teachers' official record - this document will continue to damage that teachers' professional reputation long after the Departmental Claytons "sorry".

    There is a need to correct the document - to annotate all copies of the document to say that the decision was made in breach of Departmental policies and it has been withdrawn.

    http://www.premiers.qld.gov.au/community-issues/open-transparent-gov/submissions/submissions-181-200/qld-ombudsman.aspx