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London Borough of Barnet (17 018 971)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 04 May 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s refusal to change the decision on the complainant’s housing banding. This is because there is no evidence of fault in the way the review decision was made. We will not investigate the other matters raised by the complainant as they have been previously considered and decided.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I refer to here as Miss P, says that:
    • The Council has refused to change her housing banding or to move her and her family from their accommodation;
    • It did not consider her review properly; and
    • It has not resolved a number of other complaints about the actions of council officers, councillors, and alleged harassment in her neighbourhood.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints of injustice caused by ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)
  2. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information provided by Miss P and by the Council. I have also sent Miss P a draft decision for her comments.

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What I found

  1. Miss P considers that her current accommodation is unsuitable for her needs, and appealed against her housing banding decision, so that she had a greater chance of being rehoused.
  2. The Council reviewed the decision in March 2018, but refused to change the banding. Miss P is unhappy with the decision, as she says that the reviewer did not consider her case properly. In particular she says it did not consider her medical issues and the effect on her of alleged harassment in the area.
  3. I have looked carefully at the review decision, and it is clear that the reviewer has considered all the issues that Miss P raised. She took into account a comprehensive list of supporting documentation provided by Miss P, as well as medical opinion, but in the final analysis, she was not persuaded by Miss P’s case.
  4. The Ombudsman cannot challenge the merits of a decision that has been properly taken, so I will not consider the matter further.
  5. Miss P also raises a number of other issues about the actions of council officers and councillors in relation to complaints about a charity support worker, and alleged harassment in her neighbourhood. These issues have been previously considered and decided by the LGSCO so I will not look at them again.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because there is no evidence of fault in the way her review decision was taken, and her other issues have been previously considered and decided.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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