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Ex-Leader of London borough launches judicial review challenge after Ombudsman named him in report

A former leader of Haringey Council has issued legal proceedings to challenge the decision by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to name him in a recent report.

In January 2022 the Ombudsman found fault causing injustice after Mr X complained about Haringey’s handling of the possible purchase of his home related to the development of a neighbouring site.

Mr X claimed that as a result of the council’s errors his family lived with uncertainty for six years.

The LGSCO concluded that a decision by Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, the then Leader of Haringey, to abandon the development was “flawed”.

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The report called on Haringey to reconsider its plans for the site with all options open for consideration.

The Ombudsman also found fault in the council’s communication with Mr X and accused Haringey of a lack of even-handedness in its approach.

Announcing the launch of legal proceedings, Cllr Ejiofor claimed that the development had been aborted for a number of reasons, “including not offering value for taxpayers, the opposition of neighbouring council tenants to the demolition of their council houses, and sewage utility pipes running under the site that made the scheme unviable”.

Cllr Ejiofor said: “I have had to go to the High Court to seek justice. It is no secret that I disagree with the substance of the Ombudsman report. Even the Ombudsman accepted that the decision that I took was a legal decision. Furthermore, when it was reviewed, it was reaffirmed to be the only logical decision in the circumstances.

“Whilst the Ombudsman enjoys broad discretion in many areas, its ability to ‘name and shame’ individuals is tightly prescribed by law, because these decisions have severe personal consequences.

“I am seeking leave to judicially review the Ombudsman’s decision to name me, because I believe it to be legally flawed, and because I want my good name back.”

He added that, for legal reasons, he would be unable to comment further while proceedings are ongoing.

Cllr Ejiofor claimed that the LGCSO had failed to identify a single precedent case of naming an individual councillor, despite multiple requests to do so by his legal team.

An LGSCO spokesperson said: “As the councillor has indicated he has lodged a claim with the court, it would be inappropriate for us to say anything further.”

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