Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 31 Mar 2015
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Miss B’s complaint that the Council has repeatedly taken her application off its housing register. There is no evidence of fault in the way the Council reached its review decision.
- The complainant, whom I shall refer to as Ms B, complained that the Council has repeatedly taken her application off its housing register even though she has been unable to find appropriate housing and is at risk of becoming homeless.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. She must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. She provides a free service, but must use public money carefully. She may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if she believes it is unlikely she would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the information Ms B sent to the Ombudsman, information on the Council’s website and Ms B’s comments on my draft decision.
What I found
- The law requires councils to give reasonable preference in their housing allocation policies to certain groups of people, including those living in overcrowded conditions.
- The Council’s housing allocation policy sets out how it gives reasonable preference to applicants who live in overcrowded housing. It does not accept applications from people living in overcrowded accommodation unless the household needs at least two additional bedrooms to be adequately housed.
- Miss B lives in a privately rented property with her daughter. She describes it as a studio or bedsit. She asked the Council to review its decision to take her housing application off its housing register. In its review decision the Council said it had considered all the information on Ms B’s housing file and the facts of her case. The Council told Ms B her assessed housing need did not meet its minimum threshold for inclusion on the housing register.
- It is not the case that the Council has failed to recognise Ms B’s reasons for seeking council accommodation. But its housing allocation policy refers to the need for housing in Croydon being very high and the supply of social housing available being only sufficient to meet a small proportion of that need. There is no evidence of fault in the way the Council reached its review decision in this case.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms B’s complaint because there is no evidence of fault in the way the Council reached its review decision.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman