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Brighton & Hove City Council (18 017 404)

Category : Housing > Allocations

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 27 Mar 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Miss X complained about the Council’s decision not to accept her onto its Housing Register following a review of her application. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault which would warrant an investigation.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Miss X, complains about the Council’s decision not to accept her onto its Housing Register. She says it has overlooked her medical needs and that she cannot afford her current private rented accommodation in the long term.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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, or
  • we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered all the information which Miss X submitted with her complaint and she has been given the opportunity to comment on the draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Miss X complained to us in 2018 following the Council’s removal of her housing application form the Housing Register. In our investigation into that complaint (case number 17014309) we recommended that the Council put its decision to a formal review. The Council reviewed the case in August 2018 and decided that Miss X remains ineligible.
  2. The Council told Miss X that she has no housing priority in her current circumstances because she has a private rented flat and has no housing medical need associated with her accommodation. Miss X argues that her present home is unaffordable in the long-term and that she cannot claim benefits without jeopardising her tenancy. She also says she has mental health problems which she associates with her situation.
  3. The Council considered Miss X’s application in detail and it has made its decision according to its current scheme of allocation. 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. Although our previous investigation found fault in the assessment, this has been addressed by the review.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault which would warrant an investigation.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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