Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 16 Mar 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Miss X complained about the Council’s assessment of her housing application. The Ombudsman should not investigate this complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault which would warrant an investigation.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Miss X, complains about the Council giving insufficient priority to her housing application when she applied in 2019. She says it ignored her vulnerability and she wants compensation for her and her daughter.
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 Miss X submitted with her complaint.
What I found
- Miss X applied to the Council for rehousing and was allocated Band E priority according to her housing circumstances. In November 2019 she became threatened with homelessness and was placed in temporary accommodation. The Council changed Miss X’s priority to Band C which is the appropriate banding for statutory homeless applicants.
- Miss X’s social worker asked for her application to be considered by the Council’s Welfare Assessment Panel. The panel met in December and decided to award her application Band A on health and vulnerability grounds. The Banding was backdated to when the Panel application was submitted. Miss X complained because she believed that her banding was changed due to initial errors by the Council. There is no evidence that this is the case and the bandings changed with her circumstances.
- We will not uphold a complaint if a council has followed proper procedures, relevant legislation and guidance and taken account of all the information provided, even if the complainant thinks that the council should have given more priority to their application to move.
- 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