Stoke-on-Trent City Council (18 009 409)

Category : Housing > Allocations

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 21 Feb 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: There is no fault by the Council. It is willing to carry out the remedy agreed on a previous complaint but is unable to do so without the complainant making contact.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall refer to as Mr B, complains that the Council has not given him one offer of accommodation which was recommended as a remedy to his previous complaint.

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What I have investigated

  1. I have investigated matters that have occurred since June 2017. The final section of this statement contains my reason(s) for not investigating the rest of the complaint

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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. If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read the papers put in by Mr B and discussed the complaint with him.
  2. I considered the Council’s comments about the complaint and any supporting documents it provided.
  3. I gave the Council and Mr B the opportunity to comment on my draft decision.

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What I found

  1. In April 2015 the Ombudsman decided a previous investigation and found fault by the Council causing an injustice to Mr B. The Council agreed to pay £500 to Mr B, prioritise his housing register application and work with him to find a property that best suited his needs.
  2. Mr B complained the Council had not carried out this remedy. This complaint to the Ombudsman, reference 16 018 462, was decided in June 2017. The investigator found the Council put in place the agreed remedy from the previous Ombudsman complaint. The Council issued a cheque for £500 and made two offers of properties to Mr B. The investigator was satisfied the reason Mr B was not rehoused was because he failed to respond to those two offers.
  3. The Council agreed to reissue the £500 payment and make one further offer of a bungalow if Mr B still wants to move.
  4. In response to my enquiries, the Council said that officers visited Mr B in May 2017 and left a letter asking him to contact the Council about the payment and an offer of housing.
  5. The Council visited Mr B again on 14 June 2017. There was no answer so the Council left a letter asking Mr B to make contact. The Council said that Mr B has not contacted the Council so it has taken no further action.
  6. The Council has said that it is prepared to make Mr B a further offer of accommodation if he contacts it. However, if Mr B does not open the door or respond to letters there is nothing further it can do.

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Final decision

  1. I have completed my investigation of the complaint. This complaint is not upheld as there is no fault by the Council.

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Parts of the complaint that I did not investigate

  1. I have not investigated matters that occurred before June 2017, when we decided Mr B’s last complaint.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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