Thurrock Council (17 017 713)

Category : Housing > Homelessness

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 23 Mar 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about the way the Council responded to reports the complainant made about his sister. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, says the Council has not responded appropriately after he reported concerns over his sister’s homelessness application.

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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 an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read the complaint and the Council’s responses. I invited Mr X to comment on a draft of this decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr X made a housing application. He says the Council rejected the application because his name was on the mortgage for the family home.
  2. Mr X’s sister made a successful housing application two years ago. Mr X reported her to the Council because he says her circumstances were the same as his. The only difference is that he has health problems but his sister does not.
  3. In response the Council said it could not provide any information due to data protection.
  4. Mr X is dissatisfied with the Council’s response. He wants to know why he was treated differently to his sister.

Assessment

  1. I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council. The Council provided me with information which I cannot disclose due to data protection rules. I appreciate this may be frustrating for Mr X but I am satisfied there is no need to start an investigation. In addition, even if I started an investigation, I would not be able to share information with Mr X.
  2. I also will not start an investigation because Mr X could have used his appeal rights if he disagreed with the Council’s decision to reject his application.

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Final decision

  1. I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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