Maidstone Borough Council (18 000 166)

Category : Housing > Allocations

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 26 Feb 2019

Summary: Mr K complains about the Council’s decision to refuse his application to join its housing register. As a result, he and his family continue to live in accommodation unsuitable for his disabilities.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused, we recommend the Council take the following action.

  • Provide a written apology to Mr K for: 
    • not considering the failures of the Independent Medical Advisor’s assessment;
    • not considering his evidence properly when assessing his application;
    • the failures with the decision letter;
    • wrongly asking him to pay £75 for a review; and
    • failing to tell him about the Independent Medical Advisor’s involvement and assessment at the time of the decision.
  • Carry out a review of Mr K’s application at no cost to him.
  •  Should the outcome of this review accept his application, the Council will check its records to see if any bid he might have made for a suitable property, in his preferred areas, would have  succeeded. If he would have succeeded, the Council will: offer him the next suitable property that becomes available; pay him £150 a month from the date his bid could have succeeded to the date his new tenancy starts. This payment recognises Mr K and his family living in unsuitable accommodation for longer than needed.
  • Carry out a review of its allocation policy and the lawfulness of its provision about charging for a second medical assessment.
  • Check its records and consider whether any other applicant may have been similarly affected by the charge. It will pay refunds where applicants were charged. It will also consider carrying out reviews of decisions where applicants did not proceed with their review request after they were told about the charge.
  • Carry out training to ensure relevant officers are fully aware of the review procedure and can properly advise applicants about it.
  • Carry out training to ensure relevant officers deciding applications are aware of the need to properly consider and evaluate evidence from an applicant and the Independent Medical Advisor and give applicants full reasons for their decisions.
  • Make a payment of £250 to Mr K for the distress the fault caused. This payment includes recognition of his uncertainty that the outcome of his application might have been different but for the fault identified. It also includes recognition of his lost opportunity to have a review of the decision in addition to the stress, inconvenience, and frustration caused.

Print this page