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Birmingham City Council (19 020 397)

Category : Housing > Allocations

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 31 Mar 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms B’s complaint about the Council’s assessment of her housing application. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault to warrant investigation.

The complaint

  1. Ms B complains about being placed in band three of the Council’s housing allocation scheme. Ms B says her housing situation is making her feel depressed and she wants to be placed in a higher banding.

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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 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. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. 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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information from Ms B. I shared a draft version of this decision with Ms B and invited her comments.

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What I found

  1. Ms B applied to the Council for a transfer to a two-bedroom property because of overcrowding. Ms B lives in a one bedroom flat and she shares a bed with her two children. Ms B says she doesn’t have enough space and the mould in her flat is growing.
  2. The Council assessed Ms B as being in band three due to overcrowding. Ms B was unhappy with this and asked the Council for a review.
  3. The Council reviewed Ms B’s application and upheld its original decision. The Council explained a band three overcrowding award was correct and in accordance with its allocation scheme.
  4. The Council’s allocation scheme says an applicant will be placed in band three if they are overcrowded by one bedroom. This is the situation Ms B finds herself in. I understand Ms B is disappointed with the decision. But, based on the information available, it is unlikely we would find fault in the way the Council reached its decision.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate Ms B’s complaint. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault to warrant investigation.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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