Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 29 Mar 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Mr X complained about the Council’s assessment of his housing application. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault in the Council’s assessment of his housing need.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, complains about his housing application being categorised as Band C when he feels it should have higher priority.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- 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, or
- it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered all the information which Mr X submitted with his complaint. I have also considered the Council’s response and Mr X has been given the opportunity to comment on the draft decision.
What I found
- Mr X applied to the Council for a transfer to a bigger property on the grounds of overcrowding and his medical condition. The Council assessed him as being in band C with an allowance of 50 points for overcrowding because his son who is one year old shares his single bedroom.
- Mr X asked the Council to review his application but the Council says his medical condition has no bearing on his accommodation needs so he does not warrant additional points. The Council has reviewed the case more than once but he remains in Band C. Mr X says he is statutory overcrowded but he does not meet this criterion because his son is under age 10.
- 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. The Council has correctly assessed his application and considered whether it should exercise its discretion to overrule any part of the allocation policy.
- The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault in the Council’s assessment of his housing need.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman