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Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (14 018 458)

Category : Children's care services > Other

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 01 Dec 2015

Summary

Complaint from a young woman that the council failed to properly consider her need for accommodation and support when she was 16 years old and made a homeless application in December 2014.

The complaint

Complaint from a young woman that the council failed to properly consider her need for accommodation and support when she was 16 years old and made a homeless application in December 2014.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

The council should:

  • apologise to the young woman for its failure to properly assess her in December 2014;
  • pay her £2,000 to acknowledge the avoidable distress caused and limited support provided to her from December 2014 when in all probability she met the criteria to be considered a child in need of accommodation under section 20 of the Children Act 1989. This payment also recognises the avoidable time and trouble caused by her having to seek alternative accommodation;
  • backdate its section 20 duty to December 2014 ensuring that she will be eligible for the relevant leaving care support;
  • provide training for all relevant staff on the council's responsibilities for assessing homeless 16 and 17 year olds and ensure that in future it always issues a decision on homeless applications; and
  • explain how it will ensure that in future homeless 16 and 17 year olds are properly assessed given changes to practice agreed as a result of an earlier investigation and report from this office do not seem to have been effective.

The council has accepted these recommendations.

 

Ombudsman satisfied with council's response: 11 March 2016

 

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